400 anti-Christian violence incidents in India in first half of 2023: Report

With 88 documented incidences, averaging nearly three events per day, the month of June stood out as the month with the largest number of attacks against Christians, the UCF said.

The United Christian Forum (UCF) stated that 400 acts of violence against Christians occurred across 23 states in the first half of 2023, with Uttar Pradesh topping the list of states with 155 cases.

This amount indicates a considerable increase over the same time period the previous year when 274 occurrences were reported.

Also, the current violence in Manipur, which has lasted more than two months, has resulted in the destruction of countless churches and the loss of valuable lives, the Christian body said in a press release.

In Uttar Pradesh, six districts have reported incidences of violence against Christians, with Jaunpur leading the list with 13 occurrences, followed by Rae Bareilly and Sitapur, each with 11 incidents. Kanpur recorded ten instances, while Azamgarh and Kushinagar districts each reported nine. According to the press release, the biggest number of incidences happened in Bastar, Chhattisgarh, with 31 documented instances, UCF stated.

With 88 documented incidences, averaging nearly three events per day, the month of  June stood out as the month with the largest number of attacks against Christians, the press release said.

Following that, there were 66 instances in March, 63 in February, 62 in January, 50 in May, and 47 in April. In comparison, January had the most occurrences, totaling 121, during the same time in 2022.

The UCF underlined that these 400 incidents of violence against Christians happened across the country, regardless of whatever political party was in power.

Uttar Pradesh topped the list with 155 incidents, followed by Chhattisgarh with 84, Jharkhand with 35, Haryana with 32, Madhya Pradesh with 21 incidents, Punjab with 12 incidents, Karnataka with 10 incidents, Bihar with 9 incidents, Jammu & Kashmir with 8 incidents, and Gujarat with 7 incidents.

Several instances have also been recorded in Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chandigarh, and Goa.

The UCF reported an alarming increase in incidences of violence against Christians since 2014. The following are the recorded numbers: 147 incidents in 2014, 177 incidents in 2015, 208 incidents in 2016, 240 incidents in 2017, 292 incidents in 2018, 328 incidents in 2019, 279 incidents in 2020, 505 incidents in 2021, 599 incidents in 2022, and now 400 occurrences in the first 190 days of 2023.

The UCF draws attention to a concerning trend whereby Christians, despite being victims of these atrocities, face a higher number of First Information Reports (FIRs) compared to the accused. The organization highlights that the police often fail to adequately investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of mob violence. False allegations of conversions under the Freedom of Religion Act have led to 63 FIRs being lodged against Christians, it said.

Disturbingly, 35 pastors remain in jail, as their repeated bail requests have been denied. Furthermore, bureaucratic delays in processing their release have left those who do secure bail still incarcerated. Despite numerous appeals made by Christian community leaders to the President, Prime Minister, and Home Minister, no response has been received thus far, the UCF further stated.

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