Christian Indians 'afraid of Christmas'

Wed 20 Dec 2017
By Tola Mbakwe

With Christmas just around the corner, religious freedom charity ADF International has raised concerns over growing Christian persecution in India.

Its worries came after the arrest of 32 young Catholic priests who recently charged with forcibly trying to convert others to Christianity.

The young men were going from door to door in a rural village central Madhya Pradesh region singing Christmas carols, when the police detained them.

When other priests came to inquire about the allegations, a mob approached and torched their car in front of the police station.

AC Michael, the national coordinator of the United Christian Forum, an Indian advocacy group working alongside with ADF International said they are "afraid of Christmas this year".

"We anticipate more anti-Christian violence and harassment," he said.

Jennifer Lea with ADF told Premier why persecution has gotten worse in India.

She said: "The main religion is Hinduism. Currently the BJP party in power has stated a goal to make the country 100 per cent Hindu, out of that there's a systematic plan to eradicate Christianity.

"They're going into villages and chasing out pastors."

Allied lawyers of ADF International are reviewing this recent case.

While the seminarians were acquitted and released after interventions at the governmental level, one priest is still facing prosecution for "forcible conversion."

According to the charity he stands accused of paying 5,000 Rupees (approximately 66 Euros) to a Hindu to convert to Christianity and then allegedly baptizing the convert in a pool.

ADF stated: "The evidentiary inconsistency is hard to miss: while baptism by immersion in a pool is a common practice for evangelical Christians, Catholic priests baptize only by dripping water on a convert's forehead."

The organisation said it "shows absurd the allegations against Christians have become".

Lea urged Christians around the world to take a stand against the injustice.

Listen to Jennifer Lea speaking with Premier's Marcus Jones here:

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