A nine-year-old Christian girl, Anjali Masih, was reportedly gang-raped and killed

Anjali Masih was playing with her friends when three men lured her away with the promise of a guava. Anjali Masih was then gang-raped by the men and strangled to death with a telephone wire.

A local pastor said that since Anjali Masih’s parents had recently become Christians, he believed her murder was a warning to others who might consider changing their religion to Christianity. He also reported that an increasing number of people in that area have been converting to Christianity, which has resulted in much opposition and violent threats.

According to local Christians in the area, Christians living nearby are very fearful and afraid to carry on with their daily routines. India is number 11 on the Open Doors World Watch List.

Most persecution comes from a variety of radical Hindu groups wanting to cleanse their country. Converts from a Hindu background bear the brunt of the persecution in India, and are constantly under pressure to return to Hinduism. Radical Hindu groups are increasingly enjoying impunity when they harass Muslims or Christians. At least eight Christians were killed last year, and nearly 24,000 physically assaulted. As a result, fear and uncertainty among Christians is increasing.

Henrietta Blyth, Open Doors’ CEO, said: “This vile targeting of an innocent little girl because of her religion is absolutely abhorrent. Sadly the rape and murder of Anjali is part of a worrying trend of increasing violence against Christians – especially converts – across India.” Erin James

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