In India, where Hinduism is the dominant religion, Christians are coming under increased pressure. Not only are they frequently singled out for attack by Hindu mobs, but churches are also being destroyed – on the orders of the state. CSI’s local partners warn that Christianity could be wiped out completely in India.
A video sent by our partners in India shows disturbing scenes: a church in the southern state of Tamil Nadu is demolished under police supervision. Some Christians stand forlornly in front of the church; one woman breaks down in tears. This incident happened recently in Viyasbaody, a suburb of the cosmopolitan city of Chennai.
Another video shows a government lawyer asking the Christians to leave the site. The land is government property and does not belong to the church, she says. The order to destroy the church came from the Tamil Nadu government.
“The church had been there for 27 years,” said CSI’s local partner Parul Singh (name changed) in disbelief. For almost three decades the place of worship was undisputed. But now the government seems to want to evict Christians from the area. “Out of the blue, an official showed up with orders to demolish the church because it was built on government property,” Singh said.
Christians impacted by rising nationalism
The situation of Christians is worsening by the day, despite freedom of religion being guaranteed under the constitution. “The [Hindu nationalist] government wants to wipe out Christianity and other religious minorities in India,” concluded CSI’s partner.
The destruction of the Chennai church is just one example of the growing discrimination against adherents of the Christian faith. In addition, many poor Christians no longer receive state aid on account of their faith.
Through local partners including Parul Singh CSI is working on behalf of the victims of religious persecution in India, providing humanitarian and legal aid to victims. It is also supporting pastors who have no income as a direct result of the Covid-19 lockdown.