Increased persecution in India; Christians attacked by Tribal Animists

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - Rights groups report that Christian persecution in India has worsened since Hindu nationalist prime minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014. Whereas in 2013 India ranked 31st on the Open Doors’ 2021 World Watch List of countries where Christians are persecuted, it now ranks 10th.

In just one of many reports of persecution in India, Morning Star News said that last month a band of tribal animists in Chhattisgarh state threatened to beat 10 Christian families to death if they refused to undergo a “re-conversion” ceremony and return to their ancestral religion, Morning Star News reports.

Explaining the background to the threats made, Pastor Dularam Kashyap of the Methodist Church told Morning Star News that the events surrounded a burial controversy in the Chhingur village in the state’s Bastar District. While on his deathbed, tribal animist Lakhshu Nag had asked Pastor Kashyap for prayer, and died two days later. As local Christians sought to bury Nag, animist villagers attacked and beat them and refused to allow them to bury him - because he had asked for prayer. Pastor Kashyap was beaten too, when he tried to intervene. Nag’s body lay in the village for a whole day from March 2-3. Eventually, police were called and officers escorted the Christians to bury Nag in the village of Chaltipadar.

Following the burial, the Christians were summoned to a meeting before their Chhingur village elders and were told to attend the re-conversion Ghar Wapsi (“homecoming”). Having already been subject to beatings, the Christians were reportedly afraid. “We fled from the village on the day of the ceremony, everyone in their own direction,” Christian Raidhar Nag told Morning Star News. “Four Christian families hid themselves in the village itself. The villagers frantically searched for all of us on the day of the ceremony and found the members of the four families,” Nag said. “They took them along and forcibly sprinkled some water on them as per the tradition and made them worship the tribal deities.”