Graham Staines and his two boys were burned to death by Hindu radicals in India in 1999. The cruel murder of the Australian Christian missionary who cared for leprosy patients shocked the world. Politicians, religious and civic leaders condemned the killings.
Yet 20 years later, attacks on Christians in India are surging.
In 2018, 477 violent incidents were documented by Persecution Relief, an organization in India. The nation rose in global rankings of religious persecution.
One case made worldwide headlines: the murder of Christian missionary John Allen Chau who sought to share the love of Jesus with a remote Indian tribe. He joined 3 other Christians in India in martyrdom in 2018: Pastor Gideon was hanged inside his church, Pastor Abraham Tigga Topno was beheaded, and 65 year-old Sis. Chadarajupalli Subbaravamma was beaten to death while she prayed.
The hostility took many forms. Churches and Bibles were burned. Congregants beaten. Christian institutions and children’s homes shut down under false charges. Pastors beaten inside police stations. Christians arrested on false charges. Police and officials worked in collusion with religious fanatics, who planned their assaults, at times, in the presence of the authorities.
“In several incidents, women were attacked, their modesty outraged and children not spared of violent assaults – a new low in our reporting,” said Persecution Relief.
“Anti-Conversion” laws passed by Indian states became grounds for religious radicals to abuse and accuse Christians with impunity.
Despite rising hostilities, Christian leaders encourage an eternal response.
“Our mandate as soldiers of Christ,” said Persecution Relief, “is to keep marching ahead in the power of the Holy Spirit, fearing none, except the One who can destroy both the soul and body.”
Christians in India to be free of resentment and filled with peace.
India’s government officials to enforce justice against perpetrators and equality for minorities.
The Holy Spirit to turn radicals into followers of Christ.