New Delhi, India, Feb 21, 2018 / 12:02 pm America/Denver (CNA).
Compared to 2016, attacks against Christians in India by Hindu extremists more than doubled in 2017 amid efforts to label the religious minority a danger to the state.
The persecution ranges from threats and physical violence to destruction of church property, but false allegations against Christians have also increased.
"It is a new trend to accuse Christians of serious crimes," said Shibu Thomas, founder of the ecumenical forum Persecution Relief.
The allegations are "a clear indicat[ion] that those opposed to Christians want to portray them as serious threats to the nation's safety and security," he told UCA News.
According to a report from Persecution Relief, last year 736 incidents of attacks occurred throughout India compared to the 348 that happened in 2016. Most of these are "daring physical attacks," the report said, but the victims of these attacks were also accused of sedition, discrimination, and destruction of religious property.