A gate was deliberately installed to prevent Christians from visiting a prayer house at a residential and commercial colony in the Indian state of Telangana. Persecution Relief was alerted about the incident on the 31st of August 2020, by *Andrew, a Christian resident of the colony.

“Over the past year, the colony members have been purposely creating one issue after another for us. However, this time they have taken it too far. How can one prevent anybody from coming to our prayer house? We rightfully own the property and peacefully conduct our affairs said *Br. Paul, an Elder of the Church.

Speaking to Persecution Relief, Andrew-who is a part of another Church outside the colony explained that it is not only the prayer house that is being harassed by the religious fanatics, but his family as well. They are the only Christian family in the colony.

“We have peacefully existed in this place for over 25 years. Before the nationwide lockdown, around 300 people used to meet for prayer. At present, we have been following all government norms with a handful of members in attendance” said Br. Paul.

The Elder narrated incidents of the fanatics magnifying minor matters of vehicle parking and music/singing. “It seems like they are always trying to find a way to harass us. Even though the government is relaxing rules, we are still following social distancing, but these men are causing us a lot of inconvenience” he said.

“We were surprised to see a gate installed at open entrance to the colony. Moreover, they are keeping it shut, preventing the Christians from entering during prayer time” said Andrew who also shared that the fanatics have been ill-treating his family as well.

Br. Paul and other Church leaders made a complaint at the local police station concerning the incident. “The police promptly responded to our complaint and came to our colony to investigate. They are presently in touch with us and we hope and pray that this issue will soon be sorted out” he added.

Incidents like these, uncover the contagious disease of religious intolerance in India. Isn’t it strange that places of worship belonging to religious minorities are regularly targeted and attacked? If India is a secular state, why are such issues so widespread?

Most of us know the answer to these questions and are also aware of how hopeless the situation is becoming. Religious intolerance is probably affecting and destroying more lives in India than the pandemic itself.

In the 1st Half of 2020, Persecution Relief recorded 293 cases of Christian Persecution. In 2019 alone, we recorded the maximum number of 527 cases compared to 447 cases in 2018, 440 in 2017 and 330 in 2016. From January 2016 to June 2020, Persecution Relief has recorded 2067 cases of Hate crimes against Christians in India.

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has downgraded India to the lowest ranking, ‘Countries of Particular Concern’(CPC) In its 2020 report. The US State Department ranked India’s persecution severity at “Tier 2” along with Iraq and Afghanistan. Over the past seven years, India has risen from No. 31 to No. 10 on Open Doors’ World Watch List, ranking just behind Iran in persecution severity.

Shibu Thomas is Founder, Persecution Relief www.persecutionrelief.org


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