Christian persecution in India intensifies over first half of 2016

An independent report revealed that India already documented 134 cases of Christian persecutions for the first half of 2016, doubling down on cases reported in previous years.

(Reuters/Danish Siddiqui)A protester holds a placard during a rally by hundreds of Christians against recent attacks on churches nationwide, in Mumbai February 9, 2015.

According to Morning Star News, the Evangelical Fellowship of India's Religious Liberty Commission (EFIRLC) documented the incidences from Jan. 1 to June 30 and supported by independent fact-finding surveys. Last year, the cases recorded amounted to 177 while the cases totaled 147 in 2014.

The European Parliament Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Religious Tolerance (FoRB&RT) also released June 30 its "Annual Report on the State of Freedom of Religion or Belief in the World 2015-2016" that cited a 150 percent increase of religious persecution in India.

EFIRLC placed Uttar Pradesh as the Indian state with the most cases of sectarian violence with 25, followed by states Madhya Pradesh with 17 and Chhattisgarh with 15. EFIRLC named the groups behind the attacks, including Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram and Hindu extremist groups affiliated with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

The report described the crimes perpetrated against Christians as physical violence, attacks on churches, prohibiting church services, threats, and even murder. Hindu extremists also use the South Asian country's Freedom of Religion Acts by falsely charging Christian leaders of conversion by force.

William Stark, an ICC member and expert in South Asia on radical Hindu ideology, explained why Hindu radicals refuse to tolerate any other religions.

"If you see someone Muslim or Christian, they're following a foreign faith, and they're defiling India because they're following a foreign faith," Stark told Vice News.

He also added that Christianity is on the rise in this predominantly Hindu country despite ongoing persecution because many of those in the lowest caste find the Christian faith appealing.

"You're in a religion that for thousands of years said you're something below human, and then a faith comes that says everybody is created equal, that's a very attractive message," explained Stark.

The report also indicated "a startling rise" of such violence in Uttar Pradesh due to the upcoming elections.

Humanitarian groups blame Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist party, Indian People's Party, for tolerating the violence.

"The central government has refused to speak out against the atrocities – thus further encouraging radical Hindus to step up their discrimination against Christians," David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors USA, told FoxNews.com.

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