Regardless of Covid-19, the horrible assaults on India's Christians continued

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(Photo: Unsplash / Sylwia Bartyzel)

Christians in India have seen increased persecution during the coronavirus pandemic, a new report revealed.

The Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) report documents 135 cases of discrimination against Christians in the first half of 2020, including the murder of two Christian men and a teenager.

Other cases of persecution, including lynching, false accusations, threats, and community exclusion for their beliefs.

Most documented attacks occurred in Uttar Pradesh in the north of the country, where 32 hate crimes against Christians were recorded.

In Odisha, a 14-year-old Christian boy was reportedly killed in a terrible murder after a group of attackers crushed him to death with a stone and dismembered his body.

It was reported in Tamil Nadu that a Christian father and son were tortured and murdered by the local police.

In Jharkhand, Christian women were sexually assaulted and some Christian converts were ordered to give up their beliefs or to exclude their faces from the community.

EFI said that the actual extent of the persecution could be much higher because Christians are often too afraid to report crimes against them. In some cases, the police refused to register cases, it said.

"The police have been reluctant and slow to register FIRs (First Information Reports) in those cases where there are identifiable criminal offenses, even though they are required to do so under section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Even in the cases registered with the police, most come never in court, "said EFI.

The organization fears that persecution will only increase if anti-conversion laws are imposed in more countries across India. Currently, eight of the 29 Indian states have anti-conversion laws that make it illegal for everyone to change their beliefs. However, activists want laws to be enforced across the country.

The EFI calls on the Indian government to protect Christians and other religious minorities.

"We particularly appeal to the regional governments of Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu to strictly deal with the various right-wing organizations operating in these states, whose main task is to create an atmosphere of fear among the Christian community and other religious minorities." said.

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