Religious Liberty Commission of EFI records 39 incidents against Christians in Karnataka since January 2021.
In the wake of the media reported attacks against Christians in North Karnataka, a fact-finding team from EFI’s Religious Liberty Commission visited the region, travelling to 8 towns and cities and meeting at least 12 pastors and Christian leaders who have experienced opposition and harassment in the recent past. The team also met over 50 pastors and Christian leaders, including the Presidents of various Pastors Fellowships from the region.
It is clear and obvious that an atmosphere of fear and apprehension prevails in the Christian community and its grassroots religious clergy because of a systematic targeting through a vicious and malicious hate campaign. It is equally obvious that those involved in carrying out this hate campaign and fear mongering enjoy protection and possibly support of elements in the political and law and order apparatus on the state.
The EFI is making its report public in the interests of the Christian community in the state and the country, and to help safeguard peace and harmony by calling upon the State government to act immediately before any major untoward incident takes place. This report is also being sent to the Governor of Karnataka, the Chief Minister, the National Commission for Minorities, to the Ministry of Home Affairs and to the office of the Prime Minister of India for their information.
The EFI team has come to the conclusion that the constant talk at the highest levels of the government of Karnataka in recent weeks about the introduction of a so-called Freedom of Religion Bill which is widely better known as the Anti-conversion law, in the forthcoming Legislative Assembly session to be held in Belagavi from 13th December 2021 has empowered non-state actors to target Christians who are a miniscule minority in the state (1.87%), even less than the national average of 2.3 %
The escalating situation seems to be getting out of hand and so far there is no effective response from higher political and police authorities to stem the hate campaign and threats which are being carried out by persons and through social media. The Christian community in Karnataka has a good reason to apprehend an outbreak of violence against them.