Your prayers are urgently needed as the Supreme Court in India looks into the rising violence and hatred facing Christians in parts of the country. A preliminary hearing, which took place on 1 September, has requested further evidence. The court is due to meet again to discuss the issue on 6 December.
On 1 September, a preliminary hearing looking at the intensifying persecution facing Christians in many parts of India took place at the country’s Supreme Court.
The court wants to verify the claims made in the petition and has granted the government two months to gather evidence. The case is due to be heard again on 6 December.
Give thanks to God that a preliminary hearing has taken place. Please pray that the gathering of evidence will be diligent, fair and an accurate portrayal of extreme persecution facing many Christians in India.
7 July 2022
On Friday (15 July), India’s Supreme Court is due to look at the ‘sinister phenomena of violence’ and ‘targeted hate speech’ against the Christians in many parts of the country. In May, there were more than 57 attacks against believers.
The petition was filed in March by Archbishop of Bangalore, Dr Peter Machado, together with the National Solidarity Forum and the Evangelical Fellowship of India. The Chief Justice, however, refused an early hearing as there was ‘no urgency’.
However, Colin Gonsalves – who is the Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court of India and the founder of Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) – has since brought the petition to the attention of the vacation bench, which hears cases while the Supreme Court is on summer break.
He has asked justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala for an urgent listing, saying that the number of attacks on Christians is increasing every month, as reported in India’s legal news site LiveLaw. In May alone, a record 57 cases had been reported, Consalves reportedly told the bench.
“What you are saying is unfortunate, if it is happening every day,” Justice Surya Kant was quoted as saying by LiveLaw. “What we can ensure is that your matter is listed on the re-opening day itself.”
In their application, the petitioners asked the Supreme Court for the creation of a special investigations teams to register criminal cases and prosecute groups responsible for attacks on Christians, provide police protection for believers under threat, and identify and prosecute political and social groups responsible for violence against Christians.
The number of cases of violence against Christians in many parts of India has risen sharply in recent years. According to the United Christian Forum, 2021 was ‘the most violent year for Christians in India’, with 486 reported cases of violence against Christians (an increase of 75% from 2020). However, as reporting a crime in India is a challenge, the actual number might be higher.
This reflects what Open Doors has been drawing attention to in recent years, including the Destructive Lies report which highlights the existential threat facing Christians in India. The driving force behind this is Hindutva, an ideology that disregards Indian Christians and other religious minorities as true Indians because they have allegiances that supposedly lie outside India, and asserts the country should be ‘purified’ of their presence.
“It is important for us to pray intently not just for this first hearing but also for upcoming proceedings of this case,” says an Open Doors local partner in India.
“There are certainly more atrocities than the number that is mentioned here. Several incidents go unreported since many Christians live in remote areas and most of the times the persecutors are within the local community. The extremist groups instigate these local communities to attack Christians instead of doing it themselves. We should bring these matters to the court and also before the Lord continuously.”
“This hearing could be an initiative in favour of Christians in India,” he adds. “We deeply pray for laws to be created for the protection of Christians which are presently so vulnerable and voiceless.
“Despite the challenging times, nothing changes the facts that the king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord.”
The intensifying persecution facing Christians in India is why the country is the focus of Open Doors’ latest campaign. Find out the latest stories and prayer requests from India and how you can financially support our Indian family.
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