India: Persecuted Christians vulnerable as Hindu nationalist party wins state elections

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - Christians and other faith groups in India are at risk of suffering even more intense harassment and persecution as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won commanding victories in 4 key state elections on March 10.

Persecution against Indian Christians by Hindu nationalists has risen dramatically since the BJP became India’s ruling power in 2014.

The state elections were considered a referendum on Modi’s leadership ahead of India’s General Election in 2024, NPR reported. In particular, the BJP’s resounding victory in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populated state, is taken to show the popularity of Modi’s “Hindu First” policies. Home to one-fifth of India’s 1.35 billion people, Uttar Pradesh sends 80 legislators to the country’s Parliament, the most from any state. The state is seen as a critical vote in General Elections.

BJP policy has been experienced as hostile and dangerous toward non-Hindu faith groups: under BJP leadership, nine Indian states have already implemented highly controversial ‘anti-conversion’ laws. These laws technically ban the forced conversion of Hindus to other religions - but in practice have been widely abused by extremists to attack and imprison Christians and others who are considered a threat to Hinduism.

The Christian Post reported that, while waiting for the final election result in Uttar Pradesh, local Christian Emmanuel Singh from the state’s Jodhikapur village said in a statement: “A Hindu leader has already threatened us that they are waiting for the election results and after that they will exterminate Christians from Uttar Pradesh.”

India now ranks 10th on the US Open Doors Watch List 2022 of the top 50 countries where believers are persecuted.