- 102 incidents of persecution recorded in 2020
- Call on authorities to do more to ensure safety of religious minorities
NEW DELHI (10 June 2020) – Amidst the COVID-19 crisis in India, Christian persecution is on the rise. Recently, extremists murdered a fourteen-year-old boy in the state of Odisha, because of his Christian faith. A group of fanatics targeted Samaru Madkami and tried to first kidnap but then killed and buried him in the jungle. This is the most recent of a series of attacks and mob violence against Christians and other religious minorities in India.
“Nobody should be persecuted let alone murdered for their faith. While the deteriorating situation for Christians and other religious minorities in India has been well documented, little action has been taken. The brutal murder of fourteen-year-old Samaru must shock our nation into action. It is a fundamental right to freely choose and practice one’s faith. The authorities should protect Christians and ensure prosecution of attackers. We are grateful for a quick police response in this case and hope Samaru’s family will receive justice. Samaru has harmed no one. His only ‘crime’ was that his father served in the local Christian church,” said Tehmina Arora, Director of ADF India.
102 attacks against Christians in 2020
Since 2019, violence against Christians has risen significantly. The United Christian Forum have documented over 102 incidents of harassment and mob violence against Christians in 2020 alone. The attacks usually take a similar shape and often the police fail to take action against the mobs. A mob will arrive at a prayer meeting or Christian gathering, shout abuse and harassment, and beat up those in attendance including women and children. Then, the pastors or priests are usually arrested under false allegations of forced conversions.
While the lock-down measures around the COVID-19 outbreak in India had brought brief relief from religious persecution to Indian minorities, violence targeting faith groups now seems to be back for the worse.
“The murder of a fourteen-year old marks a new level of Christian persecution in India. This cold-blooded targeting testifies to what many Christians and other religious minorities experience in India today. The authorities have to do more to ensure the security of all people, including minorities. All people should have the right to freely choose and live out their faith,” said Paul Coleman, Executive Director of ADF International.
Photographs: Samaru Madkami, Tehmina Arora, Paul Coleman