01/30/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – According to the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN), radical Hindu nationalists have stepped up an anti-Christian campaign in India’s Madhya Pradesh state. Nationalists are calling on villagers to disassociate themselves from Christians and demanding Christians convert to Hinduism to avoid hostility.
At a January 26 meeting with village elders in the Jhabua District, Hindu nationalist leader Kamalesh Malviya said, “There is no space for religious conversion and healing prayers among indigenous people, and those who have converted to Christianity should be opposed.”
Other nationalists have been campaigning across the Jhabua district demanding Christians convert to Hinduism to avoid social boycotts and physical violence.
On January 11, a mob of Hindu nationalists marched in Jhabua city demanding all churches in tribal areas be shut down. They handed a written memorandum to the district collector and threatened violence if the local government didn’t meet their demands in the next 30 days.
Christians across the Jhabua district fear the escalating intolerance and violence. According to UCAN, Christians account for some 4% of the district’s population.
“We have been practicing our faith amid threats and persecution,” Jeevan Ganawa, a local Christian leader, told UCAN. “However, we are not going to give up our religion as per the whims and fancies of right-wing Hindu groups.”