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44.5% spike in hate crimes against Christians in India in two years, a support group report says

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Sravani Sarkar

BHOPAL: Hate crimes against Christian minorities in India increased by 44.5% within two years – from 2016 to 2018. In all 1247 incidents of intimidation, burning down of churches, attacks, false arrests and others were recorded during these three years, a support group annual report has claimed.

In 2018, the number of hate crime went up to 477 from 330 in 2016, the report shows. In 2017, the number of incidents was 440. Total 10 incidents of burning of churches were reported – maximum four from Tamil Nadu.

Of the 477 incidents in 2018 – 24.5% were of intimidation, 19.1% of attack on churches, 17.8% of false arrests and 13% of physical attacks on Christians – making up for 75.3% of all cases. The most common form of persecution was ‘threats, harassment and intimidation’ which saw an increase of 118% from 2017, the report shows.


Madhya Pradesh has emerged among the five ‘hot spots’ of hate crime against Christians – the report by Persecution Relief, a inter-denominational support group for churches in India – has said.

MP recorded 24 cases of hate crime, same as Telangana in year 2018. Uttar Pradesh reported highest number of such incidents at 129, followed somewhat distantly by Tamil Nadu with 67 incidents. Bihar was placed third with 37 incidents.

North zone was reported as the most hostile region with 164 out of 477 incidents in 2018. South zone followed close with 137 incidents.


They included – worship service disrupted, church vandalized, church sealed by administration, Holy Bibles burnt, church eviction by owners on pressure by fanatics, church construction permission denied by authorities, access to church blocked and others. 10 churches were burnt down.

All minority communities continue to feel increasingly vulnerable due to the lack of religious freedom and the religious violence engaged against them. Minorities continue to feel unsafe, neglected and largely suppressed, as perpetrators of crimes against humanity are yet to be prosecuted, the report says.

Founder of Persecution Relief, Shibu Thomas has said in his message in the report ‘as India grows less peaceful, day by day, the difficult and dark moments provide opportunities for us to reflect God’s love and light. May we be encouraged to continue to stand firm together in the challenging times ahead.’


• 8% increase of persecution incidents in 2018, from 2017 was recorded.

• Uttar Pradesh continued to be the top persecutor of Christians for the 2nd year running.

• For the first time, Union Territories of Andaman & Nicobar, Puducherry and Daman & Diu, reported Christian persecution attacks.

• Tamil Nadu continues to witness a worsening law and order situation, and a spike in persecution attacks.

• Of the 10 Churches that were burnt down in 2018, 4 were reported from Tamil Nadu.

• 91 incidents of attack on Churches were reported.

• Threats, Harassment & Intimidation were the most common form of persecution.

(Image courtesy: The Persecution Relief annual report 2018)

Sravani Sarkar

Sravani Sarkar has been a journalist for over two decades. In the past, she has worked with Lokmat Times, Indian Express & Hindustan Times.