About 80% of Indians are Hindus, and more than 10% are Muslims. India is also the birthplace of Buddhism.
Hindu nationalist informants live in nearly every village and report on the activities of Christians, resulting in attacks and arrests. Many pastors and evangelists have been beaten and jailed, and several are martyred each year. Christians are often arrested and detained after being falsely accused of forcing Hindus to convert to Christianity.
Since 2020, Pastor Santosh has been harassed and pressured by members of the Hindu nationalist group RSS (Rāṣṭrīya Svayaṃsevak Saṅgh). His church has been vandalised, he has been threatened and struck, and the group has repeatedly pressured the police to file charges against him for conversion of Hindus.
In October 2022, he was jailed for a month without bail. “When a person goes to jail, he breaks,” Santosh said. “I felt broken, too. After coming out of jail, I was petrified. I did not go to any place for months. I was afraid about what next I would see. People in the streets would hatefully see me as if I was a criminal.”
In the aftermath of his arrest, Santosh’s church has not been able to reopen, but he continues to visit congregants at home to pray with and encourage them. His case is still pending.