India - Family standing in front of burned out church - Photo: VOMC

India

India is the world's largest democracy and the second most populous country (following China). It is culturally diverse, consisting of many languages, cultures and religions. India's social and political structures are largely determined by religion, caste and language. Despite its increasing presence in the global economy, the vast majority of the country's rural population remains impoverished.

Church tradition maintains that the Apostle Thomas first brought the Gospel to India and was likely martyred near Chennai. Indian believers who refer to themselves as "Thomas Christians" continue this legacy as they share the Gospel in some of the most restricted and unreached regions of the world. However, those who evangelize are at great risk as they may be beaten, murdered, or have their properties/churches ransacked and burned.

In 2018, Christians in India experienced an attack every 24 hours, a dramatic increase from past years. Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Hindu nationalist organization has seen a 20-percent increase in membership and an emboldened base aimed at further cementing India's Hindu identity among its great diversity of languages, cultures and religions. Vague policies such as anti-conversion laws (opposing the conversion of Hindus to other religions) have passed in several Indian states, and the push for a similar federal law is gaining support. The state anti-conversion laws have long been used against pastors, church planters and evangelists. Yet, despite greater government restrictions on Christianity, the church is growing.

Life for Christians:

According to Open Doors UK, there are almost 69 million Christians living in India, representing 5 percent of the population. RSS informants live in nearly every village and report on the activities of Christians, resulting in attacks and arrests. Churches have been demolished and burned, worship gatherings disrupted, crosses in graveyards vandalized, Bibles and other Christian literature confiscated and burned, and more pastors beaten and jailed. Christians are often arrested and held for up to three weeks after being falsely accused of forcing Hindus to convert to Christianity. With assistance, they are usually able to post bail or prove that the charges are unfounded.

Current Ministry Projects

VOMC VOMC assists persecuted Christians with legal support and rehabilitation assistance, and cares for children of martyrs by providing them with a safe place to be nurtured physical and spiritually. VOMC also partners to equip Christians in India with Biblical training and works to strengthen and support marginalized and persecuted Christian women. Additionally, VOMC helps to provide medical assistance to believers who have faced injuries after being attacked.”

Project Funds: Families of Martyrs, Equipping the Saints, Legal Defense, Relief and Development, Women’s Ministry, Medical Fund

Country Information

Designation
Persecuted

Population
1,339,330,514 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Indo-Aryan (72), Dravidian (25), Mongoloid and other (3)

Religion (%)
Hinduism (79.8), Muslim (14.2), Christianity (2.3), Sikh (1.7), other (2)

Leader
President Ram Nath Kovind (2017)

Government type
Federal parliamentary republic

Legal system
Based on English common law; separate personal law codes apply to Christians, Hindus and Muslims.

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for India

Despite the intimidation and violence that have taken place in many of India's states, may Christians wisely yet unashamedly preach the Gospel. Pray that indigenous Christians and foreign missionaries will minister in ways that do not hint at fraudulent conversions, unmasking the intentions behind the anti-conversion legislation. Intercede for India's leaders, that they may reign with justice and righteousness.

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India News

  • Pastoral Couple Arrested Due to ''Forcible Conversion'' Allegations
    Hands clasped in prayer, resting on an open Bible
    God's Word will not return void.

    Karnataka became the latest Indian state to officially pass anti-conversion legislation after the state's governor signed the law into effect on May 17th. On that same day, members of the Hindu nationalist group Bajrang Dal filed a complaint against Pastor V. Kuriyac

    ...
  • Inaction Against Accused Police Officer
    Burned church
    Burned remnants of the church.
    Photo: Christian Solidarity Worldwide

    On February 5th, the thatched-roof building where Christians in Kistaram, Chhattisgarh, used to gather for worship had been burned to the ground. Investigations suggest that an opposing local police officer named Bhavesh Shinde was

    ...
  • Pastor Tortured in Police Custody
    A group of believers listening to a speaker
    Pray for wisdom as pastors faithfully share God’s Word.
    Photo: VOMC

    On April 16th, a Christian pastor was arrested in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh under false charges of conversion activities. The pastor and his family were visiting relatives in the village of Anamouh Anam and, as part

    ...