India Celebrates its 70th Republic Day

India celebrates its 70th Republic day today. Much pomp and display are put into the celebrations which are telecast nationwide.  However, this country which is the largest democracy in the world, a country with a rich heritage and past holds the 10th position on the 2020 world Watch List.

In 2019, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won a resounding second term under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi. But the situation continues to deteriorate for the country’s religious minorities under his government. Since the BJP’s landslide victory, India has been in the news for its politically sensitive decisions, such as bringing to pass the Citizenship Amendment Act affecting India nationwide. Public protests and police brutality to suppress these protests has come to the attention of the international media.

Furthermore, the National Register of Citizens enforced in the state of Assam could be the world’s next refugee crisis.  India’s democratic credentials are being questioned as the lockdown in Jammu and Kashmir continues.

In rural areas, Christians are frequently arrested for taking part in prayer meetings or for conducting regular church meetings. Christian minorities in India are suffering gravely at the hands of Hindu extremists, with many being forced to 'return' to the Hindu faith.

Tara, a 15-year-old believer

Our partners met with Tara, a 15-year old believer, who shared with us, “I was suffering from an illness, then a friend shared about Jesus with me. I went to church and prayed with other members of the church and my sickness was healed. It was then that I started believing in Jesus. I found a peace that I had never known, everything in my life started making sense.

“Then, my family and people from the village got to know that I go to church every Sunday. I met intense opposition from my family as well as the local community. 'You are a shame to the family; our community people detest us because you go to church. Either leave Jesus or forget the relationship you have with us.' This was what my parents told me.

“Nobody comes into my room and nobody even touches me or looks at me,” she said. Her well-off family stopped paying her school fees or living costs, so Tara had to find work. “It’s difficult to find a job because I am very young, but I find something and earn some money for my survival.”

Tara is bold, and she refuses to give up her faith. “I know that Jesus is the true God. I can never substitute Him for anything. Nothing can compare to the peace I have received in Him.”

Please pray

Please pray for the nation of India, that it would keep true to its secular and democratic roots by providing freedom of religion or belief to all its citizens.

Please pray for the thousands of Christians who are pressured to leave their faith in Jesus so that they can be accepted by the society at large.

Pray for young people like Tara, who need much courage and support to stand strong for Jesus in the midst of much opposition.