154 cases of religious persecution against Christians have been verified by the United Christian Forum (UCF), a human rights organization that tracks crimes against Christians in India.
According to the United Catholic Asian News (UCAN), the group determined that these acts of violence have occurred in 17 different states throughout the first half of the year. 18 of these incidents also resulted in property damage to places of worship or churches.
On the UCF toll-free hotline number, Christians from all across India reported violent acts against them.
"January witnessed the highest number of incidents with 34 followed by 28 in June, 27 in March, 26 in April, 21 in February and 16 in May," the UCF's press release stated.
A total of 1,137 calls were received by the UCF hotline, and callers were provided assistance like advocacy or help in communicating their complaints to authorities
In addition, the group reported that they were successful in obtaining the release of 84 people from custody. The government has also reopened or allowed prayer sessions at 29 places of worship. However, only 18 first information complaints against the perpetrators of violence were able to be filed.
The UCF hopes that maybe a new government ministry can help people better understand different religions, particularly those that are hostile against Christianity.
"This year hasn't been any different for Indian Christians except that Indian Christians across the globe came together to establish an exclusive day for themselves on July 3 and launched a decade of celebrations (2021-30) to honor the 2,000th anniversary of the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ," the UCF said during their press briefing.
Additionally, according to UCAN, mob violence accompanied by a police squad coming at places of worship has been a regular occurrence in recent years. In spite of several orders to the government from the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, to put an end to the heinous acts of mobocracy, the situation continues.
More often than not, it's the authorities such as police or other government agencies that have prohibited people from congregating for religious activities on a variety of grounds.
Furthermore, there have also been seven new cases of the Freedom of Religion Act being used this year. While conversion-coercion statutes have been in place in certain states since 1967, no Christian has been convicted of coercing anybody into conversion.
UCAN noted that the census showed that the Christian population in India remained at 2.3 percent of the country's overall population of 1.38 billion people in 2020.
Despite the continuing enormous persecution and even in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, the Indian church continues to grow, which is a bright spot in an otherwise dark picture.
India is ranked 10th among the most dangerous locations for Christians to live in the world due to the persecution that believers experience there. Still, faithful believers are ready to take the risk.
The same might be said about Christians and members of underground churches in Chinese society. Persecution, it seems, has only helped to increase the growth of Christ's Church across the whole planet.