Date: February 25, 2019
Targeted violence and hate crime directed against Christians in India’s most populous province of Uttar Pradesh almost tripled in 2018 compared to the previous year, according to an Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) report published on 21 February.
The EFI report states that, in 2018, there were 132 persecution incidents in the province, compared to 50 in 2017. Alarmingly, the figures – encompassing violence, intimidation and harassment of Christians – rose sharply in the latter part of the year, with 94 incidents taking place in the last four months of 2018 alone.
In India as a whole, there were 325 recorded incidents of Christians being targeted in 2018. This was slightly lower than in 2017 when the figure rose to 351, but about twice as high as the annual numbers reported in any year from 2012-2015.
One of the most densely populated countries of the world, India is home to around 64 million Christians – around 2% of the population. Christians number just 0.18% of the population in Uttar Pradesh, which contains Varanasi, the constituency of Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister.