CLICK TO WATCH THE VIDEO
Three hundred Hindu extremists storm a Christian community in north India. Hindu militants force a convert to burn Christian literature — they call her a prostitute and say she's been paid to convert to Christianity.
These are just two of over 20 incidents of violence against Indian Christians since October. And persecution has peaked after Pope Francis embraced India's Hindu hard-line prime minister, Narendra Modi.
Two days before Christmas, the south Indian state of Karnataka (home to historic Catholic communities, seminaries and charities) passed a bill banning so-called forced conversions, amidst protests from opposition parties. On Christmas day, Hindu militants in Karnataka's Mandya district stormed a Catholic school and demanded to know why the nuns were not celebrating Hindu festivals. A day after Christmas, a historic church in the state of Haryana was desecrated, and a statue of Jesus was smashed.
And, on Christmas day, the government froze the accounts of the Missionaries of Charity, the religious order of St. Teresa of Calcutta, leaving 22,000 destitute people cared for by the sisters without food or medicine.
The bishop of the Belgaum diocese, Derek Fernandes, dismissed the bogeyman of "forced conversion."
Bp. Derek Fernandes: "In the Catholic Church, we have a law, canon law 748, §2, which says no one should be allowed to be baptized against their conscience. This means, if somebody does it, it's a sin; he's committing a sin."
A Catholic priest from Karnataka told Church Militant the fuss about the anti-conversion bill was ironic, since the Indian Catholic Church has stopped evangelization since Vatican II: "All we are doing is social work and activism. Bishop Derek himself said that during his episcopacy there would be no increase in Catholics in his diocese. Evangelicals are very effective in evangelism, and hundreds of thousands of Hindus are converting to the faith through their ministries."
There's no sign the persecution of India's Christians will let up in the near future.