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Church leaders in India are alarmed over a dramatic increase in attacks on Christians in the state of Andhra Pradesh, where in recent weeks one pastor has been murdered, others beaten, and churches demolished.

The All India Christian Council documented 72 incidents of anti-Christian violence and hostility in Andhra Pradesh in 2013, nearly double the 39 recorded in 2012. Today the state, India’s fifth-most populous, has the country’s highest rate of anti-Christian incidents.

A council project manager put the responsibility for the increase in violence on the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, which he said is attempting to rally right-wing support in advance of upcoming elections.

On 10 January in Vakirabad town, armed Hindu Vanihi militants stabbed Hebron Church pastor, O Sanjeevi, eight times. He died three days later.

On 25 December in the town of Narketpally, Suverthamma Moses responded to a late-night knock at the door and was struck on the head with an iron bar, then stabbed. When her husband, Nama Moses, a Baptist pastor, rushed in, he was stabbed multiple times. Both survived.

On New Year’s Eve, extremists in the town of Rajamundry set fire to a worship centre after a night service.  And on 2 February, the Bethel Gospel church building in Hyderabad was burned to ashes.

Sources: World Watch Monitor, All India Christian Council

Prayer Points

  • Ask the Lord to intervene to protect His children from violence.
  • Pray for those who are grieving, injured or fearful as a result of these attacks; ask God to strengthen them.
  • Pray that the persecutors will know Christ’s love, forgiveness and blessing through the lives of the Christians.