Growing numbers of people converting to Christianity has sparked a wave of persecution in parts of India, with mobs destroying homes and churches and in some cases murdering Christians. From Christians Face Hindus’ Wrath:
Babita Nayak was cooking lunch for her pregnant sister when a mob of Hindu extremists wielding swords, hammers and long sticks rampaged through their village, chanting “India is for Hindus! Convert or leave!”
The men, wearing saffron headbands, ransacked dozens of huts, searching for cash and looting bicycles and livestock. They torched the village church, leaving behind burned Bibles in the local Kui language and torn-down posters of Jesus. “Christianity is a foreign religion,” they shouted over bullhorns, according to eyewitness and police reports. . . .
A six-hour drive from Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa, into the isolated and winding jungle-lined roads showed remnants of fatal attacks and arson directed at Indian Christians in recent weeks: razed churches, scorched orphanages and homes, and roads blocked by downed trees, boulders and stick-waving mobs. Saffron flags (saffron is the color several Hindu right-wing organizations use for self-representation) flew over Hindu-owned tea shops and homes to protect them from attack.All told, as many as 4,000 Christian homes and 115 churches were destroyed in the region. Amid the lush corn and rice farms of Kandhamal district, more than 35 people were killed for their faith, the All India Christian Council reported; government officials estimate 18 deaths.
There are increasing reports that women were sexually abused, but victims are slow to come forward because of the stigma attached to rape.
About 20,000 people have been displaced, most of them huddled into 14 squalid government-run camps across Kandhamal. About 5,000 have left their homes in Ganjam district, media reports say.