A spokesperson for a persecution watchdog group says the outlook for 2018 appears to be gloomy when it comes to increased religious freedom for Christians in India.
That bleak view of the new year – offered by William Stark with International Christian Concern – is based on what happened in 2017, and particularly during this past Christmas season. He says ICC has identified more than 30 separate attacks on Christians at specific Christmas events in India.
But Stark sees one bright spot in all of this: the state government did deploy security forces to churches on Christmas Day to protect Christians.
"The state is willing to protect the religious freedom rights of Christians as long as they are doing those within designated spaces that [the state] decided are places of worship," he explains.
"So it's unfortunate, in one sense, that it seems that the ability of Christians to be protected [as they] practice their religion is being limited to the church on specific days [instead of] religious freedom being the norm of wherever you walk in India."
With this past Christmas being one of the most violent in India's record – along with the fact that many Hindu radicals weren't arrested for their violence against Christians – Stark says it sets up "a dismal view of 2018" for religious minorities in India.