India’s Rise on the Persecution Watchlist
For the fifth year in a row India takes another jump on Open Doors’ Watchlist to number 15, listed right behind Saudi Arabia. But that’s not the most alarming number in their report. They also list countries in which the levels of persecution are rising the most rapidly. India is number 4.
Every year, Open Doors publishes a report ranking the top 50 countries for the severity of the persecution Christians face in each. Rankings are determined by four qualities:
- proportion of types of Christianity persecuted
- proportion of inhabited territory affected
- the intensity of persecution
- the frequency of persecution
This year, India is listed as having “Very High Persecution.”
Since 2013 India has risen 16 spots to its current number 15 ranking. According to the report, every week more than 15 violent attacks against Christians have been documented. But those are only the ones reported, the true number is most likely much higher.
Within the Indian culture, religious radicals feel less inhibited to stop the spread of Christianity by whatever means necessary. They have set up reconversion events, burned and looted churches, bloodied pastors, stopped the construction of churches, disrupted meetings and done what they can to ostracize Christians from their communities.
In one community, religious radicals have prevented the construction of a church building for three years. Every time construction begins, these radical extremists find a way to put an end to it, whether through bureaucracy or through force. The local pastor has tried, time and time again to elicit help from the local authorities – he even reached out to the opposing party to find a solution for the problem, but to no avail. The pastor hopes to finish construction this year so his church has a permanent place to meet.