07/30/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – On July 14, the Superintendent of Police of the Sukma District, located in India’s Chhattisgarh state, issued a circular to all police stations directing officers to surveille the district’s Christian community. Specifically, the Superintendent ordered his officers to be on the lookout for fraudulent religious conversions and to act against Christians where these activities are found.
Following the circular, International Christian Concern (ICC) has documented several incidents of intimidations, threats, and assaults against the Christians of Sukma. Christian leaders fear a new wave of persecution is likely building up in their district.
“Four policemen came to our village while we were having a prayer gathering on July 23,” Bhima, a Christian from Sukma, said. “They enquired about conversions. They did not do anything to us, but after the police left the Hindu radicals in the village started using abusive words against all Christians. They threatened that they would chase us away from the village.”
In Devarpalli village, a Christian had his farmland forcibly taken from him on July 22. The farmland is now being used by local Hindus. A complaint was filed with the District Collector, but little has been done to resolve the situation.
“We have been forced to stop all the worship gatherings in the villages,” Pastor George, a pastor from Sukma, told ICC. “The members of my congregation are quite strong in the Lord; however, they are worried about the consequences that they will have the bear. For their safety and security, our congregations have decided not to hold worship as usual.”
For the Christians of Sukma, many are expecting the circular will trigger a new wave of persecution. As has been seen in other states, actions taken by government leaders casting suspicion on Christians often triggers waves of arrests, assaults, and intimidations.