Police in Gujarat, a western state of India, are investigating a complaint that girls at a Missionaries of Charity-run shelter home were forced to read the Bible and wear a cross.
Kumar, the spokeswoman for the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata, rejected that allegation in comments to the New York Times.
“I’ve worked here for 45 years, and nothing like that has ever happened,” she said.
There have also been problems with religious extremism. Around Christmas 2021, vigilante Hindu groups engaged in protests, church disruptions, harassment and vandalism. Some smashed statues of Christ or burned effigies of Santa Claus or accused Christians of using Christmas gifts and festivities to induce or force Hindus to convert, The Guardian reports.
In 2020, for the first time in more than a decade, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom listed India as a “country of particular concern” for religious freedom. India, the world’s second-most populous country after China, is ranked 10th on the World Watch List for the persecution of Christians compiled by the advocacy group Open Doors.
Christians in India were the targets of 305 violent incidents in the past nine months, according to an October 2021 report from United Against Hate, the Association for Protection of Civil Rights, and the United Christian Forum
India’s government recently cancelled the renewal applications from 179 organizations for alleged violations and another 5,700 did not apply for renewal by the Dec. 31 deadline.
Among those who face problems like the Missionaries of Charity is Oxfam India, the local branch of the U.K. charity giant, which has been working in India since 1951. The organization said the ban on its license to receive funds from overseas means its work will be “severely affected,” BBC News reports.
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