Jehovah’s Witnesses is a millenarian Christian group, which does not believe in Christian Trinity but believes in Jesus as son of God and Jehovah as God. They follow a literal interpretation of the Bible, have no priests, and do not approve of traditional priesthood as it is practised in some of the other Christian groups. Several Christian denominations do not consider the Witnesses a Christian sect at all but feel that they are aligned closer to the Jewish faith.
In fact, Jehovah’s Witnesses came under severe persecution under the Nazis in Germany along with the Jews as well as several ethnic groups. The Witnesses stand out with what may be described as exceptionalism as they do not join national armies as soldiers as they want to stick to a neutral stand when it comes to wars between countries, do not seek public offices or join politics, do not accept blood transfusion, and refuse to adhere to symbols of nationalism.
The Witnesses believe that Armageddon is imminent and early establishment of God’s kingdom is a pressing requirement.
In 1985, three children belonging to a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses refused to sing the national anthem in Kerala. The children were expelled from school. The matter was dragged to a court of law and was finally settled through a Supreme Court verdict that allowed the children to be readmitted to school.
Jehovah’s Witnesses is spread over around 240 countries, said a leader of the group in Kochi. There are around 4,000 members of the group in the Kochi area according to a local elder of the group.
The Witnesses has its early roots in a Bible study group founded in the last decades of the 18th Century by Charles Taze Russel, a Unitarian pastor from Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. But a schism in the Bible study group after his death resulted in the formation of several groups, including the Witnesses, in the early 1930s.