Updated: September 08, 2014 06:11 PM GMT
International Christian Concern (ICC) has warned that Sangh Parivar, an umbrella Hindu nationalist group, is inflicting suffering and looking to cleanse the minority Christian population in India, much like terror group ISIS is doing in Iraq and Syria.
The watchdog group said in a press release that the nationalist group and its associate organizations have been directing hate speech toward Christians and leading attacks on pastors and churches in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. Believers are reportedly worried that radical Hindu nationalism and persecution of minorities will escalate.
John Dayal, a member of the Indian government's National Integration Council, said: "There has been a sharp rise in hate campaigns against Christians by political organizations. This threat of purging Christians from villages extends from Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh to now Uttar Pradesh, and to the borders of the national capital of New Delhi."
There have been reports of churches being turned into Hindu temples, and entire mobs attacking Christian houses. ICC shared details about one incident in July where a church in Sahakarinagar village was rampaged through by a group of 25 Hindu radicals, led by Hemanth Singh, a leader in the local Bajrangdal group.
Rev. RC Paul, who was leading a Bible study at the church at the time, was beaten along with several other members.
"We were shaken and are very scared of the situation in the area. We are concerned of our safety, even going alone outside looks very dangerous at the moment," Paul said.
ICC noted in its press release that news headlines will continue to focus on Christian persecution at the hands of terror group ISIS in Iraq, but argued that the international community "must take notice of the issues of Christian persecution globally”.
"Like Christians facing ISIS in Iraq, millions of Christians across India are facing persecution at the hands of radical Hindu nationalist groups," the watchdog group added. "Without drastic change, this difficult situation will likely only get worse, as radical Hindu nationalist groups popping up across India have been given almost complete impunity under the new Hindu nationalist government led by BJP and Narendra Modi."
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