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2021 WORLD WATCH LIST #10

INDIA

Country rank

10

Persecution score

83.44

Last year’s rank

10

Region

Asia

Persecution Type

Religious nationalism (Very strong), Clan oppression (Strong), Dictatorial paranoia (Strong), Ethno-religious hostility (Strong)

Persecution Level

Extreme

Population

1,383,198,000

Christians

67,356,000 (4.9%) Data source: Johnson T M and Zurlo G A, eds., World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed February 2020).

Main Religion

Hinduism

Government

Federal Parliamentary Republic

Leader

Prime Minister Narenda Modi

 In cooperation with local partners and churches, Open Doors supports the persecuted church in India through:

• Distribution of Bibles and other Christian literature
• Training for pastors, church workers, women, youth, and children
• Socio-economic development
• Literacy classes for adults
• Emergency aid relief
• Legal help

ABOUT INDIA

 What does persecution look like in India?

Hindu extremists believe that all Indians should be Hindus, and that the country should be rid of Christianity and Islam. They use extensive violence to achieve this goal, particularly targeting Christians from a Hindu background. Christians are accused of following a “foreign faith” and blamed for bad luck in their communities. These believers are often physically attacked and sometimes killed, as well as being under constant pressure from their family and community to return to Hinduism. If they do not “re-convert,” they may be boycotted by their community, with a devastating effect on their ability to earn income. Many believers are isolated and don’t know any other Christians.

Christians are persecuted in all areas of public and private life, and anti-conversion laws (currently in nine states, with more considering adoption) are abused to harass and intimidate Christians. Few people are actually convicted under these laws, but cases can drag on for years. 

What has changed this year?

Persecution in India has increased significantly over the past five years, and has now remained relatively unchanged for the past year. The COVID-19 pandemic has offered a new weapon for persecutors, though, and Christians are often deliberately overlooked when official COVID-19 food and aid is distributed. This has left many desperate for food, particularly since many Christians are from the Dalit caste and thus very poor, and have lost their sources of income this year. 

Who is most vulnerable to persecution?

Christians from a Hindu background are most vulnerable to persecution in both public and private life. 

How can I help Christians in India?

What does Open Doors do to help Christians in India?

Open Doors works through local church partners to strengthen the Indian church through providing emergency aid (Rapid Response teams are often first on the scene after violent attacks), persecution survival training, Bibles, livelihood and community development programs, advocacy support and legal training. 

Pray

Praise God that many are coming to faith in India through miraculous healings and the courageous witness of India’s Christians. Pray that this will continue, and many more will come to know Jesus.

– Pray for protection for our brothers and sisters, especially those who are new Christians, and those who live in rural areas and are particularly isolated. Pray that God will help their families and communities to accept their new faith.

– Ask God to continue to work through Open Doors partners to bring practical support and encouragement to those who are most in need of help. Pray for wisdom and energy for Open Doors partners, and ask God to protect them as they carry out this vital work, particularly during the pandemic.

A PRAYER FOR INDIA

Lord, thank You that faith is growing in India despite so much opposition faced by Christians in public and private life. Please keep bringing new believers to faith, and give strength and resilience to Christians from a Hindu background. Frustrate the plans of Hindu extremists who want to rid the country of other faiths, and change the hearts of those in power.  

Your gift today will show our persecuted brothers and sisters in India, and other countries in the World Watch List they are loved and remembered by you.