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Death threats, burned homes, starvation—Indian Christians are risking everything to follow Jesus

February 2, 2023 by Abigail Hart in Persecution updates

Just days after the New Year, extremist mobs stormed through Chhattisgarh, India, and beat Christians, including women, children and the elderly. A church service was also attacked, where the mob burned the church, scattered believers and warned the Christians they should never return.

Last week, our team left for Chhattisgarh and is on the ground right now, meeting with our local partners and believers.

“They beat me and kicked me”

One of the believers we met with, Kave*, shared his story:

“The village leaders brought all the Christians to a meeting, and they turned violent against us. They beat me and kicked me on the ground. They have taken all my belongings. They stole 25,000 rupees, and they took all my bags of rice and dahl (an Indian stew), and then they tore down my house.”

Munit*, another believer from Chhattisgarh, was violently beaten. He’s known as the leader of Christians in his village.  “The people of the village hit me with canes and fists. They bashed my head and knocked out my tooth, beating me unconscious.

“I cannot go back to my home because the village leaders have put out a death threat against me. They see me as the leader of the Christians in my village. I pray I can return to my home one day, but it’s too dangerous right now.”

Chhattisgarh believer Kave shares his story with us: “Pray for our persecutors to come to know Jesus.”

Chhattisgarh believer Kave shares his story with us: “Pray for our persecutors to come to know Jesus.”

Who and what are behind these recent attacks?

Fueling these attacks is the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh), a Hindu nationalist group that has been trained to oppose Christianity. In Central India, the RSS brought out volunteers from the tribal areas and trained them to oppose Christians. These tribal leaders (punjab) have spread hate, calling for the removal of Christians from their communities.

GCR’s CEO Dr. David Curry explains that one of the RSS’s main tactics is to stoke anger in the tribal communities against Christians, telling them that followers of Jesus will poison their land, convert their people and take their heritage away.”

These ideals are extremely dangerous, leading to bold attacks against Christians and other minorities. Tribal leaders are even calling for the removal of Christians from their communities.” Christians have been in the tribal areas of India for generations.

In addition, Chhattisgarh is one the states in India that has adopted radical anti-conversion laws. Anti-conversion laws were originally implemented in India in the 1930s as a way to prevent “Christianization” and to “preserve Hindu religious identity in the face of British missionaries.” These laws have recently become much more extreme, with many states in India punishing Hindus who convert to Christianity, throwing them in jail, racking fines against them or worse

In India, since the start of 2023, according to our local partner in India, attacks and discrimination against Christians have risen to an all-time high, with 2,000 Indian Christians, like Kave and Munit, being displaced from their homes. Thankfully, so far, there have been no reported deaths.

However, despite the recent attacks, the resolve of Christians remains high. In reflecting on the recent attack and robbery, Kave says, “It is still worth it to follow Jesus. I never thought of denying His name. I have forgiven [our persecutors], and I want to be obedient to Christ. Please pray for Christians in Chhattisgarh and also pray for our persecutors to come to know Jesus.”

Pray with us for our Indian family

Will you also join us in praying for our persecuted family? Let’s pray boldly that anti-conversion laws will be overturned, and those in favor of them will have a fundamental change of heart. Pray for the voice of the RSS to be silenced, that they will lose their power in India and their movement will come to an abrupt halt. And pray by name for Kave and Munit, that they will know they’re not alone, that their global family sees them and is for them, and that they’ll find the tangible resources necessary to provide for themselves and their families.

Lord, please hear our prayers for our family in need. Let them know we are with and for them. In Your name. Amen.

*Names changed to preserve security

Stand with suffering Christians in Central India

Stand with suffering Christians in Central India

You can send emergency aid to persecuted believers in India and let them know they are not alone. Your gift of $35 today provides an emergency food kit that will help feed a family for two months—a gasp of fresh air for many who are struggling.