India: Christian shot dead inside church as persecution intensifies

October 26, 2020

Persecution of Christians in India: this is mostly likely another attack from those who believe that Christianity is an alien faith in India. In fact, Christianity has been in India since apostolic times, brought there by St. Thomas the Apostle in A.D. 52, as attested by St. Ephraim, St. John Chrysostom and St. Gregory the Theologian, among others. St. Thomas was martyred in India in A.D. 72. Today the Malankara Orthodox Church of the East still survives there, an apostolic Church that broke with Holy Orthodoxy over the Council of Chalcedon in 451. There also remains a small number of Orthodox Christians under the jurisdiction of the the Holy Metropolis of Singapore. Roman Catholics and Protestants came to the Indian Subcontinent much later. Yet as this article shows, Christians are frequently persecuted in India, mistreated and even brutalized. This persecution occasionally turns violent.

Christians of the ancient apostolic Churches are less often subjected to this treatment than are evangelical Protestants, but this persecution is a matter of concern for all Christians, and for all people of good will who believe in the dignity of every human person and in every person’s freedom to worship as his or her conscience dictates.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in India, see here.

“Christian shot dead inside Indian church as persecution intensifies,” UCA News, October 26, 2020:

A Christian man was shot dead and three people were injured when assailants entered a Pentecostal church and opened fire indiscriminately in India’s Punjab state.

Police arrested three persons connected with the attack and are searching for four others who escaped, Christian leaders told UCA News.

The attack happened as Christians were leaving the church after a special prayer meeting on Oct. 23.

“Four persons armed with guns entered the church and opened fire at us. I laid flat on the ground and saved my life,” Jaspal Masih, son of the church pastor, told UCA News on Oct. 26.

His cousin Prince Atwal, 35, was shot in the head and chest and died on the spot.

“Three others also sustained injures. However, they are out of danger,” Masih added.

The attack took place at a 30-year-old Pentecostal church in Amritsar, the holy city of Sikh people, who form a majority in Punjab….

From January 2016 to September 2020, India witnessed 2,224 incidents of persecution against Christians, with 450 recorded in 2020 alone.

“Our findings are based on those who make direct calls to our toll-free numbers and others who inform us,” said Shibu Thomas, the founder of Persecution Relief. He said recorded incidents were “only the tip of an iceberg.”

Christians do not report many incidents “for fear of retribution from the attackers and also of police and other government officials, who are hand in glove with the attackers, mostly right-wing Hindu activists,” Thomas said.

Photo by Nilesh Shatalwar – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,