Easter is often a tense time for Christians living in countries where followers of Jesus face persecution. The celebration of the resurrection of Jesus brings greater focus on the Christian community, and many who oppose the church see Easter as a time to target those who believe in Jesus.
In India, where persecution is increasing, there were a spate of attacks throughout Holy Week.
25 March: Religious extremists disrupted a Palm Sunday church service at the Telangana Sheloha Prayer House, Balapur, Rangareddy District, Hyderabad. They threatened the Christians with greater punishment if they didn’t stop worshipping.
28 March: A baptism in the Evangelical Churches of India (ECI) church in was disrupted when a group of some 20 Hindu extremists physically assaulted the Christians gathered there. Pastor Jose and two others were badly injured.
30 March: In Renta Chintala, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, Pastor Maddira Kotireddy was badly injured when extremists attacked him with an axe. He lost several fingers in the attack, and was injured in the stomach, shoulders, face and hands. Pastor Kottireddy is a well-known evangelist and had been warned several times by Hindu extremists not to continue his ministry. He is still in a critical condition.
31 March: In Dharmapuri AG Church, Dharmapuri, Tamil Nadu, Pastor Sundar Singh was leading a fasting prayer service when he was attacked with stones by two attackers. The pastor was injured and had to be admitted to hospital.
1 April: When believers gathered for the Easter Sunday service at Bethel Prayer Assembly, Marudur, Coimbatore, a group of Hindu extremists entered the church and threatened the congregation. Pastor Rajesh was beaten severely and suffered a head injury.
These examples are just some of the many hundreds of incidents of violence, abuse and discrimination which Christians face in India on a daily basis. India has risen to number 11 on the Open Doors 2018 World Watch List. Radical Hindu groups are increasingly enjoying impunity when they harass Muslims or Christians.
Despite this, Christians in Meghalaya, a state in north-eastern India, were celebrating a decision to overturn a government proposal to make Good Friday a normal working day. Despite the fact that the state is considered to be 75% Christian, the ruling party put forward the proposal, in an attempt to deny official recognition of Christian festivals. However, mass protests by Christians who argued that they were being denied the religious freedom guaranteed to them under the constitution, meant the proposal was overturned.
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.