Recent report provides 400 incidents of violence against Christians since January 2023, 155 reported in UP alone

United Christian Forum report provides alarming and increasing incidences of violence against Christians, lives lost in Manipur; meanwhile Union denies any accountability in the Supreme Court
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An alarming number of incidences of violence against Christians occurred in India in the first half of 2023, with Uttar Pradesh leading the way with 155 cases, according to a press released published by the United Christian Forum (UCF). As provided in the press release, 400 incidents of violence against Christians have occurred nationwide since January pan-India, regardless of which political party is in power in the state. The aforementioned statistics are extremely worrying and concerning as in comparison to the same time period last year, when 274 instances were reported, a significant increase has been observed.

The current violence in Manipur, which has continued for more than two months and resulted in the destruction of multiple churches and priceless lives, has drawn particular attention, according to the Christian body.

Number of incidents reported State-wise:

The state of Uttar Pradesh remained at the forefront for being the most unsafe for the minority community of Christians, with 155 incidents having been reported from the state. UP was followed by Chhattisgarh with 84 incidents, Jharkhand with 35 incidents, Haryana with 32 incidents, 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. Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chandigarh, and Goa have also reported varying numbers of incidents in the 6 months.

State with the highest number of incidents:

In Uttar Pradesh, six districts have reported incidents of violence against Christians, with Jaunpur topping the list at 13 incidents, followed by 11 incidents each in Rae Bareilly and Sitapur. Kanpur reported 10 incidents, while Azamgarh and Kushinagar districts witnessed nine incidents each. However, the highest number of incidents occurred in Bastar, Chhattisgarh, with 31 recorded cases, as stated in the press release.

Highest number of incidents reported in the month of June, 2023:

In the year 2023, with 88 reported cases, the month of June stood out as the month with the highest number of incidents against Christians, averaging almost three incidents per day. This was followed by 66 incidents in March, 63 in February, 62 in January, 50 in May, and 47 in April.

Comparatively, during the same period of six months in the year of 2022, January had the highest number of incidents, which had totalled to 121, having averaged to almost four incidents per day. May 2022 had 40 incidents, while February, April, March, and June recorded 31, 29, 28, and 25 incidents, respectively.

Consistent rise in reported incident against Christians since the last 9 years:

Shockingly and jarringly, the UCF report has observed that since 2014, there has been an increase in the number of violent incidents against Christians. The following number of incidents have been noted:

  • 2014- 147 reported incidents
  • 2015- 177 reported incidents
  • 2016- 208 reported incidents
  • 2017- 240 reported incidents
  • 2018- 292 reported incidents
  • 2019- 328 reported incidents
  • 3030- 279 reported incidents
  • 2021- 505 reported incidents
  • 2022- 599 reported incidents,

The situation has worsened this much now that 400 incidents have been reported in the first 190 days of the year 2023.

Police failing the victim, no prosecution for the perpetrators:

The UCF also drew attention to a worrisome pattern whereby Christians, regardless of being the victims of these atrocities of violent and non-secular nature, are facing more First Information Reports (FIRs) than those who committed them. The organisation emphasises on the fact that authorities frequently fall short in their efforts to thoroughly investigate and holding accountable those responsible for mob violence, and rather book the individuals from the minority community. As per the data provided in the report, 63 FIRs, a perturbing number, had been filed against Christians as a result of fabricated conversion claims made under the Freedom of Religion Act. Furthermore, 35 pastors are still incarcerated behind bars, having their bail requests being denied multiple times. The report also shed light upon the ones who do obtain bail, and yet are still in prison due to administrative snags in the release procedure. The President, Prime Minister, and Home Minister have all been addressed repeatedly by leaders of the Christian community, but the UCF reported that none of them had responded.

Union’s indifference to the plight of the Christians- Ongoing case on violence against Christians in the Supreme Court

Submissions made by the petitioners during various hearings:

On July 10, 2023, during the hearing in the matter of Most Rev. Dr. Peter Machado and ors. v Union of India and Ors., senior advocate Colin Gonsalves had submitted before the Supreme Court that groups/parties aligned to the Central government were attacking the Christian Community across the country. Advocate Gonsalves had made the aforementioned submission while arguing on behalf of the petitioners in a plea seeking directions from the Top Court to stop violence against Christians in the country.

“Please look at the names of the attackers and those who have filed FIRs, these are all parties/groups aligned to the central government that are attacking us”, Gonsalves had said.

The senior counsel further told court that an IA had been filed seeking interim reliefs, such as formulation of an independent Special Investigation Team (SIT) of officials from outside the state, protection for prayer meetings, appointment of Nodal officers as per Tehseen Poonawalla judgment and, National Legal Service Authorities (NALSA) to provide legal aid to the victims.

On the other hand, SG Tushar Mehta told the bench comprising CJI DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha that action had been taken against hate crimes.

Prior to this, in the month of May, the petitioners had also alleged that the “attacks” on Christians and registration of cases against members of the religious minority “coincided” with the coming of anti-conversion laws in several States. Their petitions had alleged that attacks against Christians saw an “exponential rise” post 2022. They had listed alleged incidents of violence against Christians in Bihar, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

Submissions made on behalf of the union during various hearings:

Last year, in August 2022, the union government had filed their counter affidavit in the said case stating that on a preliminary ascertainment of the truthfulness of the assertions as alleged in the petition it had found that the petitioner resorted to falsehood and some selective self-serving documents.

The petitioners have claimed to base the petition on information gathered through sources like press reports (the Wire, the Scroll, the Hindustan Times, Dainik Bhaskar, etc.), “independent” online databases and from findings of various non-profit organisations, but enquiries revealed that majority of the incidents alleged as Christian persecution in these reports were either false or wrongfully projected, Centre had further told the court.

Furthermore, the union had even stated in their affidavits submitted to the Supreme Court that there have been no targeted attacks on Christians in the country, and had suggested that there is a “hidden oblique motive” behind the a filing of the said Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by Christian organisations and individuals demanding an independent probe into them.

Claims made by the petitioners in the rejoinder to affidavit:

Pursuant to the submissions made by the union in its affidavit, the petitioners had filed their rejoinder to the government affidavit, and stated that the affidavit of the Centre “discloses” the “political identity” of the people, whose complaints against the Christian community members, are registered by the police as FIRs.

“In over 90% of the incidents, a prayer meeting would be taking place in a private residence or a church premises. As if on cue, a large group of persons from a well-known communal organisation force entry into the premises, disrupt the prayer meeting, assault the congregation, including women, destroy property, drag the pastor and others to the police station, register FIRs against the victim community and in many cases put the pastor in jail. In many instances the assailants are accompanied by the local police and this gives the assailants’ confidence that they can resort to violence,” the rejoinder had alleged.

The petitioners had said the “assaults were not spontaneous and unconnected but rather part of the overall well-planned strategy”.

They had further claimed that there was not a single instance of an assailant being booked by the police. “In a few cases these assailants were picked up by the police and released,” their rejoinder had said. 

Union’s indifference to the plight of the Christians- Ongoing Manipur violence case in the Supreme Court

On July 10, the Supreme Court had ordered the Manipur state administration to provide the Court an “updated status report” outlining its progress on rehabilitation, recovering weapons, and enhancing the state’s law and order situation. This comes as the state of Manipur remains engulfed in the arms of fire and violence since May 3, 2023.

During the said hearing, at the outset, senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the Manipur Tribal Forum, told the bench that situation in Manipur has worsened. The senior counsel provided that a number of militant organisations have even openly advocated for the eradication of indigenous people, particularly the tribal Kukis, the bulk of whom are Christians who reside in the mountainous regions. It is essential to note there that the Christian leaders of the region have been claiming that Hindu extremist organisations turned the unrest into a planned assault on the Kuki people, who are mostly Christians.

Responding to this, the Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, appearing for the State, however, told the apex court that the “situation is improving, though slowly in view of the deployment of sufficient numbers of armed forces and setting up of relief camps.” In turn, the SG requested advocate Gonsalves to refrain from giving any communal angle to the said violence, and making it about Christians, stating that real human beings are being dealt with here.

It is pertinent to highlight here that as per many media reports, and the articles published by the Union of Catholic Asian News, the violent crowds in Manipur have “destroyed Church-run schools, social centres, presbyteries, and other institutions in a targeted attack to erase the existence of Christianity in the hilly state.” Additionally, it has been claimed that over 250 Christian Kuki churches have been burned down since the start of the conflict, and over 45,000 people are now residing in makeshift relief camps. Roughly 120 people have died as a result of the violence.

Furthermore, it has been alleged that government forces are “mute spectators” as Christians are killed and their institutions are destroyed.


The report released by the UCF clarifies any doubts that might have existed regarding the violence being subjected to the Christian community of India, The attacks on Christians, who make up about 2% of the population of India, is a part of the broader shift in the ideologies of the majority community of India, being fuelled by the intolerance and indifference shown by the current government, where has left the minorities communities feeling unsafe, and fending for themselves. The Christians minority is portrayed negatively, in line with the growing majoritarianism, and are accused of coercing, defrauding, and alluring people into conversion, creating an illusion that justifies the violence and intimidation subjected to them. Since a while, the situation has progressively gotten worse, and now it is so detrimental that the right to practice one’s religion, which is protected by the Indian Constitution as a fundamental human and is also social right, is constantly being violated through various means of assertion, which feeds into rising acts of violence against religious minorities.



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