India (MNN) — There’s an adage as old as time: “While the cat’s away, the mice will play.” It implies group laziness or misbehavior when an authority figure is not present.
A similar scenario is taking place in India right now. While police focus on COVID-19 restrictions, Christian Post reports, Hindu extremists are launching more attacks on Christians. The first half of 2020 saw 135 cases, but experts say the real number is probably much higher.“
Persecution has become a reality in most of rural and semi-rural India. But, this pandemic and the lockdown [allow] them to unleash terror because the people can’t get help from any agency,” said a ministry friend we interviewed.
It’s part of a disturbing pattern. Persecution was already rising before anyone had heard of COVID-19. Earlier this year, Open Doors USA placed India at #10 on its World Watch List – a ranking of countries where Christians face the most difficulties.“We do expect this trend to continue in keeping [with] the larger picture of what India is heading towards – Hindu Rashtra,” our friend says.
“There will be a lot more persecution the days ahead.”
How to prepare for persecution
The forecast is bleak, but not all is lost. Our ministry friend oversees church leadership development programs in India. He says lockdowns give church leaders time to plan and restructure.
“We are starting to wrestle with these realities, especially in our training. Taking this as an opportunity rather than as a setback, we’ll see how we can best restructure and reorganize ourselves into smaller entities,” he says.
A smaller public footprint lessens the probability of attacks, he explains. Church leaders will likely have “more focus on discipling people than doing conventional Sunday morning church,” he adds, “because we do expect the coming days to be difficult.”
Theoretically, the constitution guarantees religious freedom in the world’s largest democracy. However, religious minorities experience a different reality in practice. Government officials are “monitoring every agency and agencies getting funds from outside” of India, our friend says.
When the time comes “to change the constitution and declare this [country] is the Hindu Republic, [then] we will see more clampdown happening.”
Here are three ways you can help:
1. Pray for India – Use the prompts listed alongside this article to guide your intercession. Read our past coverage to find more prayer needs.
2. Spread the word – Use the buttons at the bottom of this article to share this report on social media. Ask your friends to pass it on.
3. Get in touch – Visit our partner page to see who’s working alongside believers in India. Contact them for tangible ways to help.
Listen to the broadcast (story starts at 1:28)
- This story by Katey Hearth was originally published on 29-July-2020 by Mission Network News:
- Download the audio file: https://s3.amazonaws.com/a2-media/audio/4-5min-Jul29-2020.mp3
- Image credits:
- Header image displays a Hindu temple and shrine in Malaysia. The large golden statue depicts Kartikeya, the Hindu god of war and victory. (Header photo courtesy of David McKelvey via Flickr)
- Inset photo courtesy of Open Doors USA
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