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Indian Christians

India is a secular, democratic and pluralistic society with all religions offered equality under the law, but has been victimized by radical terrorism that has severely impacted the Christian and Jewish communities living there.

On Nov 26, 2008, Pakistani Islamic terrorists made a coordinated attack on the Jewish Chabad House in Mumbai along with the historic Taj hotel and other ‘western’ institutions. The tragic result was loss of life, landmarks destroyed and rampant fear across India.

Christianity has approximately 25 million followers in India while those who practice Judaism are currently in the thousands but not accounted for; their settlements to the region date back as far as 1524 when they arrived in India as traders.

The relationship between Muslims and Christians has occasionally been turbulent. With the advent of European colonialism in India throughout the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, Christians were systematically persecuted in a few Muslim ruled kingdoms in India. Modern day persecution also exists as carried out by Hindu nationalists. Human Rights Watch stated that there is a rise of anti-Christian violence due to Hindu nationalism and Smita Narula, Researcher, Asia Division of Human Rights Watch stated "Christians are the new scapegoat in India's political battles. Without immediate and decisive action by the government, communal tensions will continue to be exploited for political and economic ends.

Besides historical persecution there have been several attacks in modern day India carried out mainly by Hindu radicals such as the waves of attacks in Karnataka which were directed against Christian churches and prayer halls in Karnataka by the Bajrang Dal, with the ruling BJP government accused of involvement. The violence started from 14 September 2008 when about 20 churches were vandalized in Mangalore, Udupi, Chikkamagaluru, and in other districts of Karnataka. Minor violence was later reported from the border state of Kerala. In Gujarat where 22 churches were burnt or destroyed, another16 were damaged. Anti-Christian violence also flared up in the state of Orissa.

In recent years, there has been a sharp increase in violent attacks on Christians in India. From 1964 to 1996, thirty-eight incidents of violence against Christians were reported. In 1999, there were one hundred and sixteen attacks against Christians in India. In 2009, more than eight hundred and twenty six communal incidents occurred in which 125 persons died. The acts of violence include arson of churches, forcible conversion of Christians to Hinduism, distribution of threatening literature, burning of Bibles, murder of Christian priests and destruction of Christian schools, colleges, and cemeteries. The attacks often accompanied by large amounts of anti-Christian hate literature.