Sanjay Macgee a soldier fighting for the Persecuted guided Nirmal E. Browne and his wife, an old retired couple, to Persecution Relief, regarding the persecution they are facing from the neighbourhood where they are living in an apartment in the city of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh. As it is now custom in India, they cannot live in peace because of their faith. Nirmal is one of the flat owners among the 92 flats of the apartment. They are both retired government employees.
Nevertheless, over the past few weeks, Nirmal has been facing discrimination by few fanatics in the apartment complex itself as they are accusing him automatically of converting people: They used the Supervisor of the society against me by pushing him to make false complaints of conversion against me. In an application given to the police station on 11/10/20 at SGPGI Police Station, he accused us of having connection with foreign agencies and that we offered him money to convert to Christianity. And he also alleged that we forced him not to go to temple. He even openly lied that I threatened him that if He doesn’t convert to Christianity, I will kill him and his family! He also added that whenever he goes to the temple, I stop him forcefully. He also accused that I have already converted many and one day I will convert the entire colony people. A policeman came to my residence with the Complaint and that’s the time I came to know about the complaint filed against me. The irony is from the past one year I have not even spoken to him” – said Nirmal to Persecution Relief.
Surely 63-year-old Nirmal was disappointed and shocked by the whole incident, especially that his accusers and the ones lodging in his flat in the same apartment as himself. “We have never discriminated anybody, nor have we ever forced anybody to become a Christian. We are falsely targeted by some fanatics whose only intention is to divide India in the basis of Religion, Color and Faith” added Nirmal.
However, it is the one experiencing predominant hostilities!! Not only Christians are inflicted, but people of all faiths are experiencing these hostilities. 27 hate crimes were recorded in Uttar Pradesh in the 3rd quarter of 2020, bringing its year to date count to a mind-blowing 90 cases! These numbers make it the Most Dangerous State in India For Christians to live in and since 2017, no other state has taken this title. Since January 2016 to September 2020, Persecution Relief has recorded 2224 cases of Christian Persecution in India. 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 alone 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 the founder of Persecution Relief