At least 305 incidents of violence against Christians in nine months of 2021: Report
This came to light in a fact-finding report by APCR (Association for the Protection of Civil Rights), United Against Hate and United Christian Forum
There have at least 305 incidents of violence against Christians in nine months of 2021, with 69 incidents in September alone, followed by 50 in August , 37 in January, 33 in July, 27 each in March, April and June, 20 in February and 15 in the month of May. In all these incidents, only 30 FIRs have been registered.
Uttar Pradesh topped this infamous list with 66 attacks this year alone. This was followed by Chhattisgarh (47), Jharkhand (30) and Madhya Pradesh (26). These four states have recorded 169 incidents of violence against Christians in these nine months.
The southern state which is witnessing a spurt in the attack against Christians is Karnataka. This year there were 32 incidents in the state. This is followed by Bihar with 19 instances of attacks against Christians, Odisha (15), Maharashtra (13), Tamil Nadu (12), Gujarat (9), Punjab (8), Andhra Pradesh (5), Haryana (5), Uttarakhand (5), Delhi (3), Telangana (2), West Bengal (2), Rajasthan (2), Assam (1) and Himachal Pradesh (1).
This came to light in a fact-finding report by APCR (Association for the Protection of Civil Rights), United Against Hate and United Christian Forum. The team recorded 50 incidents of victimisation and attacks on Christians in various parts of the country in the recent past.
At least 1,331 women were injured in these incidents and over 588 tribals and 513 Dalits. Nearly three hundred (288) incidents of mob attacks/violence were reported in these eight months. Twenty-three incidents which caused damage to the places of worship were reported too. Authorities and police disallowed the assembly of people for religious activities under one pretext or the other 85 times.
In the recent attack against a church in Roorkee in Uttarakhand, more than 200 people allegedly barged into a church, vandalised the premises and attacked people assembled there for prayers on Sunday.
The fact-finding report stated that Sadhna Lance left her house at 9.30 pm to conduct the Sunday prayers along with her two daughters, Eva and Pearl. “We were shocked at what had happened. Several of those who attacked the church are our neighbours and local Vishwa Hindu Parishad members. We here assaulted and several people were slapped,” said Eva Lance. The family had reported suspicious activity to the police at least four times before the mob attack on Sunday.
Twelve people were present in the church when the mob attack happened. Rajat Kumar, a helper at the church, was attacked by the mob with iron rods. He sustained serious injuries after being allegedly hit multiple times on his head.
The violent mob had alleged that the church is illegal and unlawfully functioning on a private properly, but the Pastor's family disputed these allegations and said that they are affiliated to the Full Gospel Fellowship of India under the Society's Act.
A counter FIR was lodged against the pastor's family by a woman alleging forced conversion. The family was booked under several serious sections of the IPC including 153 (promoting religious disharmony), 395 (dacoity) 120B (criminal conspiracy) and other sections.
Dismissing the charges, Sadhna said, “This is a false case. I am a retired government teacher and my daughters work to support the family. We take no donations and the church does not even have a bank account. Nobody offered that woman Rs 2 lakh rupees. We do not know her. She has accused that I attacked her at 8:45 AM but my CCTV footage shows that I was not present there at that time,” said Sadhna.
The fact-finding team found out that despite prior complaints by the Lance family, Roorkee Police did not provide security to the church and the family prior to the attack. At the time of the attack, police were informed and calls were made to Civil Lines police station, which is just a kilometre away. However, the police team arrived when the violent mob dispersed on its own after the attack.
The United Christian Forum has repeatedly sent letters to the Minority Affairs Minister, the latest of which was sent on October 11 to Minister John Barla highlighting the recent increase in targeted violence and hostility against Christians.