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Persecuted believers from India face weaponization of religion

January 22, 2024 by Abigail Hart in Persecuted Christians in India

Just hours ago, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi presided over a consecration ceremony for a brand-new, $200 million Hindu temple in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

With this move Prime Minister Modi is accused of weaponizing religion for personal political gain, just prior to the nation’s springtime elections when he will seek a rare third term. His aim? To strengthen the BJP political party and its Hindu nationalist agenda while further suppressing India’s persecuted religious minorities, including Christians.

Prior to the consecration of the Hindu temple, a GCR field reporter in the vicinity remarked, “Already we can see [Hindu] flags like this atop every structure in our vicinity … Hindu zealots [are] putting the saffron flag atop a church … With the consecration … India’s descent to a Hindu theocracy is sealed for now.”

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A mob arrives to plant their flags over the cross of a church.

A mob arrives to plant their flags over the cross of a church.

Uttar Pradesh—where the new Hindu temple now stands in the city of Ayodhya—is not only India’s largest state, it’s also home to more than 350,000 minority Christians. In recent years, believers in the state have found themselves increasingly under attack due to the advancement of Hindu nationalism and anti-Christian sentiment.

In one such incident, false claims circulated that Christians were paying Hindus to convert to Christianity. Hindu mobs responded by vandalizing church buildings and beating church leaders, resulting in the unjust arrest of believers and the closure of several churches.

In yet another example of Prime Minister Modi wielding religion for political gain at the expense of Christians, he recently hosted a number of believers at his home during the Christmas holiday—a move that was described by many as merely a public relations gimmick, given his prolonged silence earlier in the year when thousands of believers were displaced by mob violence in Manipur.

Our persecuted family in Uttar Pradesh needs prayer. It is estimated that the new temple could draw upwards of 100 million visitors a year—including countless Hindus. While religious tensions could flare, this situation also presents an opportunity for our brothers and sisters to be a powerful witness for Christ. Will you pray with us now?

Heavenly Father, we lift up the thousands of vulnerable Christians in this part of India. Lord, as an influx of Hindus arrive, we ask for Your cover of protection to be over our persecuted family. Keep them and the church buildings safe from violent attacks. Bring peace so they may worship You freely.

When the enemy intends something for harm, You are able to use it for good (Genesis 50:20). Give these believers a powerful conviction to go forth and share the gospel. May they be a profound witness to Your love and kindness—touching hearts and leading countless Hindus to repentance and faith in You alone. We pray for the name of Jesus Christ to be lifted high across Uttar Pradesh and all of India. Amen.

About the author
Abigail Hart, an expert on Christian persecution, writes breaking news stories out of India and the rest of the world. Get the latest blogs and prayer requests at

India has been a recent hotbed of Christian persecution. Our brothers and sisters are discriminated against simply because of their faith. But you can make a special gift today and let them know they are never alone in their struggles. Your gift can be used for food kits, medical care, trauma counselingwhatever it takes.

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