- 16 displaced families returned to their village after being ousted in September because of their faith
- Families speak of “Christmas miracle” as authorities rebuild homes
CHHATTISGARH, INDIA (21 December 2020) – Will there be peace on Earth for India’s persecuted Christians? Thanks to a Court victory secured through allied lawyers of ADF India, sixteen families from villages in the Kondagon district of Chhattisgarh, India, are setting out on their journey home after months of exile for their faith.
The group fled their homes in September after a series of physical attacks, with local women reporting that a violent mob of 500 turned up at their doors, beating them and tearing their clothes. Some of the Christian men were forced to undergo brutal conversion “ceremonies” to renounce their Christian faith. The attackers demolished homes and families had no choice but to flee. They will return for Christmas.
“Nobody should have to choose between their safety and their faith. As Christmas approaches, it is wonderful to hear that sixteen Christian families will be able to celebrate with a real hope for peace. We’re thankful for the work of our allied lawyers which led to a positive result. The families told me that they consider their return to be ‘a Christmas miracle‘,” said Tehmina Arora, Director of ADF India.
“Sadly, many Christians in India will still face severe persecution this season. The violence and mob attacks that drove these families to flee testify to what many Christians and other religious minorities experience in India today. All people should have the right to freely choose and live out their faith,” she continued.
Hope amidst a dark situation for Christians
With a just verdict secured for the Christians at the state’s High Court, authorities have stepped in to secure the safe return of the families to their homes. Though their houses were destroyed, the local government carried out an urgent reconstruction project to provide every family with a new place to live. In an unprecedented show of concern for their plight, a temporary police outpost has been installed in the middle of the area to facilitate their return and rehabilitation.
Despite this glimmer of hope, Christians remain extremely vulnerable across the country. Over 200 incidents of violence against Christians have been recorded in 2020, with the numbers continuing to rise. Christians are the most persecuted religious minority in the world, and receive little support from the international community. Find out more about the work that ADF International is doing to protect their fundamental freedom to believe.
“The international community must take action to prevent such extreme violations of human rights in India. This story gives us hope that justice can be served and peace restored; but the violence that occurred in this case is a much too frequent example of what religious minorities face throughout the country. It can no longer go unnoticed. All people have the right to freely choose and live out their faith without fear of violence. ,” said Paul Coleman, Executive Director of ADF international, a faith-based legal advocacy organization.