Ongoing persecution of Christians in India

An atmosphere of intolerance and exclusion

Letter of the Day

Sir, – I read with interest the letter (April 15th) from the Indian ambassador Akhilesh Mishra extolling the virtues of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and the governing BJP. His letter has already attracted much news coverage in India, leading to calls for him to be sacked for writing what opposition parties have called a politically partisan letter.

However, I was particularly interested in his description of Hinduism in India as being “inherently inclusive and fundamentally pluralistic” because this statement goes against the lived experience of millions of India’s Muslims and Christians. For them, the suffering that they experience at the hands of violent Hindu extremists comes from people who believe in the Hindu nationalist ideology known as “Hindutva” and who use slogans such as “One Nation, One Religion, One Culture” and “India is Hindu only”.

Sadly, every week reports reach me from across India of Christians being violently attacked as they gather for worship in villages.

The modus operandi are grimly familiar to Indian Christians: first, the extremists tell the pastor to stop church meetings; then they attack the church as it meets, injuring many people, terrorising children, damaging Bibles and musical instruments and then often literally dragging the injured pastor to the local police station and pressurising the police to charge the pastor with engaging in “anti-conversion” activities.


The most recent annual report about the persecution of Christians in India states that last year in Uttar Pradesh alone (Mr Mishra’s home state) there were 275 reported incidents of violent attacks against Christians. The report’s conclusion that “the emergence of majoritarian politics and the advocacy of Hindu nationalism by certain factions have fostered an atmosphere of intolerance and exclusion” exposes Mr Mishra’s description of Hinduism in India as misleading. – Yours, etc,

DAVID TURNER, Director, Church in Chains, (An independent Irish charity that encourages prayer and action in support of persecuted Christians worldwide), Glenageary, Co Dublin.