Hateful slogans raised against Church

In Chandmari district of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, a group of rightwing men carrying saffron flags protested outside the Matridham Ashram before a Christmas event was due to take place. The group of 20-30 people raised the “Jai Shri Ram” slogan, along with ‘Dharmantran band karo’ (stop conversion), ‘Church murdabad’ (death to the church) and ‘Isai missionariyo hosh mein ao’ (Christian missionaries come to your senses.) Dr Anoop Shramik, a Dalit rights activist, took a video of the incident, which had blocked the road for about half an hour. He added that they were also saying “Missionary murdabad” (death to missionaries). “People get scared seeing this kind of behaviour…This has become worse after the Anti-Conversion Law was passed in 2020,” he said. Father Anand, a priest affiliated with the Matridham Ashram, concurred. “This is not even a church, this is an ashram, people of all faiths, castes and creed come here to pray and find peace. There has not been one single conversion here, like a baptism, nobody has changed their faith, people are still involved with the Hindu society.” Fr Anand added that the event which takes place on Christmas Eve usually starts at 4 pm and continues till the next morning, but given the Uttar Pradesh curfew that had been announced, it had been conducted on a smaller scale for this year. Even so, it is a widely attended event, he says, and the demonstration in front of the Ashram gates caused the congregation tension and fear. “The police had been informed of the event and were meant to be there in advance, but they were not there when this group came,” he said. He added that though the police were called when the event took place, they arrived only well after the miscreants had left. While the ceremony continued without any issues, he said, “This is a symbol of what is happening because these people have impunity, and it creates tension. The situation in UP is worse than in every other state. Every Sunday is a day of terror and trauma for Christians, especially those belonging to those small churches, like Pentecostal churches. Nobody is doing forced conversion, they do spread the gospel and teach, but there is no baptism or anything like that, people come, attend prayer and go back.” Fr Anand says that the false narratives of forced conversion is a pretext for the saffron brigade’s terror tactics to be normalised. “They [the Christians] are the victims, and they are [made victims] again by the judiciary. FIRs are always written against the victims – the police stand with the perpetrators. It is indirectly state-sponsored violence.”

Other Informations
Source of information News Report Place of incident Place of worship
Number of victims 0 Identity of victim Christians
Location of incident Place of worship Was cross FIR filed 0
perpetrator Organizational Right Wing Hindutva Details of the FIR

Investigating agency Victim's lawyer
Role of police Unsatisfactory Current status
Charges Filed Other details
judgement Reference other information
Civil society reports

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Main Information
Date of incident: December 25, 2021
Nature of Violence
  • Threat
  • Causal factors
  • Allegation of religious conversion
  • Name of the victim : Christian Community
    Name of Perpetrator Members of Hindu Right wing group
    State Uttar Pradesh
    District/City Varanasi
    Party In Power / Incidents BJP - Bharatiya Janata Party
    Media link