Persecution Watch
Religious Liberty Commission of EFI
24 February 2020
Indian Christians face at least 10 attacks in the last 3 days, nine over the weekend.
Even as India prepared to welcome the American President Donald J Trump, who on his two day visit to India reportedly plans to discuss, among other things, the issue of religious freedom in India with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Religious Liberty Commission of the Evangelical Fellowship of India registered nine incidents of hate crime and violence on Indian Christians over the weekend.
Between 21 to 23 February 2020, the RLC recorded nine incidents targeting Christians and their congregations including disruption of worship services, intimidation from police machinery, mob violence, etc. Such incidents around weekends and especially on Sunday have become a regular phenomenon for Christians in many parts of our country.
One incident was also reported from Chhattisgarh on Thursday evening taking the total number of incidents to ten in the last 3 days . The Commission condemns such dastardly acts that encroach upon the rights of the Christian minority to practice and profess its faith.
Not surprisingly, majority of the incidents took place in Uttar Pradesh which recently has been a hot bed as far as targeting of minorities is concerned. The state ruled by Yogi Adityanath, who is also a serving Abbot of a Math (Temple) in Gorakhpur, recorded 5 incidents out of the 10. Tamil Nadu followed with two incidents while one incident each was reported from Telangana, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
The incidents are described below in brief chronologically:
On 20 February in Tikanpal village near Kirandul, Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh, a Christian family was brutally beaten because of their faith. The Christians were under pressure from religious radicals to recant their faith and that became the reason for the attack on them. Podiya Tati, his wife and children and Mr. Tati’s mother were all beaten up by assailants that included Baman Tati, Lisa Tati, Raju Tati and others. The attackers not only beat them up but also broke their house, broke the borewell, burnt their paddy and other eatables, and forcefully took away the chickens that the family owned. Somehow the Christians saved their lives and got admitted at the Kirandul Government hospital for treatment. The attackers have threatened to kill the Christians.

On 21 February in Bayara village of Sant Kabir Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh, Christians were verbally abused and threatened. They were warned not to conduct worship services. Pastor Jagat Narayan sought help from an officer at the Khalilabad police station, but instead was warned to leave Christianity or be ostracized from the community.

On 21 February in Sathankulam town in Thoothukudi district of Tamil Nadu, seven Christian pastors were taken into police custody. They were brutally assaulted and verbally abused by the officer-in-charge for propagating the Christian faith. They were later released.

On 22 February in Nehtaur city in Bijnor district of Uttar Pradesh, police arrested Pastor Dinesh for the crime of holding a prayer service. He was later released.

On 22 February in Moula Ali suburb of Hyderabad in Medchal-Malkajgiri district of Telangana, Pastor Austin Dinaker and some church members of the Church of South India’s Wesley Church, located in Sanjay Colony, were stalked and physically assaulted by religious radicals while they were returning home from a worship service.

On 23 February in Shiv Katra locality of Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, religious radicals attacked Christians during a prayer service and caught hold of Pastor Ruben and Pastor Prabhakar who belong to the Assembly of Believers Church. They were taken to the Rama Devi police station.

On 23 February in Karimuddinpur village in Mohammadabad tehsil of Ghazipur district in Uttar Pradesh, ten Christians, including Pastor Shivshankar, were taken into police custody. Earlier police personnel barged into a private home where the Christians had gathered and were praying peacefully.

On 23 February in Redwa Kalan village in Abu Road Tehsil of Sirohi district in Rajasthan, police arrested Pastor Simon Zachariah, his wife and two sons. The pastor was conducting a Sunday prayer service with Christians when around 200 villagers surrounded the house and called the police.

On 23 February in Elakurichi village in Ariyalur taluk of Ariyalur district in Tamil Nadu, a mob comprised of religious radicals barged into a church service and disrupted it. They brutally beat Pastor Anbumohan and church members and took them to a nearby police station where the police kept the Christians in custody the entire day without providing the much-needed medical attention.

On 23 February under Motipur police station of Bahraich district in Uttar Pradesh, police raided Pastor Harinath’s house right after the pastor had concluded a worship service. Since the pastor was not at home police left after a verbal tirade of threats and abuses directed at his wife.
We urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to take cognizance of these regular spates of violence against the minority community and provide security and protection so that the fundamental right to practice, profess and propagate the faith would not be hampered.
An Appeal to the Authorities
As concerned people, kindly call and write to the Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh along with the Prime Minister, appealing them to safeguard the rights of the minority communities and to provide protection to churches against attacks and to take immediate action against the perpetrators of violence.

Shri Narendra Modi
Prime Minister's Office
(Office address)
152, South Block,
Raisina Hill, New Delhi 110011
(O) Tel: +91 11 23012312 ; 23018939
(O) Fax:+91 11 23016857
(Residence Address)  
7, Race Course Road, New Delhi 110001 
(R) Tel: +91 11 23011156 ; 23016060 
(R) Fax: +91 11 23018939
Shri Yogi Adityanath
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
(O) Tel: +91 522 2239296; 2236167
(O)Fax: +91 522 2239234
(R) Tel: +91 522 2236838
Thiru Edappadi K. Palaniswami
Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
(O) Tel: +91 44 25672345; 24991222
(O)Fax: +91 44 25670930

Shri Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao
Chief Minister of Telangana
(O) Tel: +91 40 23452933
(R) Tel: +91 40 23410888

Shri Ashok Gelot
Chief Minister of Rajasthan
(O) Tel: +91 141 2227656
(R) Tel: +91 141 2227656

Shri Bhupesh Baghel
Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh
(O) Tel: +91 771 2221000
(R) Tel: +91 771 2331001

Issued by:

Rev. Vijayesh Lal
National Director - Religious Liberty Commission of EFI