Last night I preached at a church in rural Leicestershire and mentioned current persecution in India. A few people spoke with me afterwards and shared their surprise at hearing such news – “do things like that really happen in India?” As a follow up to that and the post last week on persecution in India I am posting a couple of recent reports from the Compass Direct website giving specific incidents – honestly there is much more going on than this but I hope this might encourage you to pray. The reports originally were seen here and here.
Karnataka, India, June 7 (CDN) — State police on June 5 arrested Christians based on a false complaint by Hindu nationalists of forcible conversion in Doddamma Layout, Hulimavu village, Bangalore. The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) reported that at around 10 a.m. police disrupted the worship of an Indian Pentecostal Church home fellowship and arrested Pastor Manjunath Venketappa Naik. Later that morning, officers returned to the house and took Naik’s wife to the Hulimavu police station, along with their minor children and six Christian women, for questioning. With GCIC intervention, the Christians were released the same day at around 2:30 p.m. without being charged.
Jharkhand – Hindu extremists in Karivadhi village, Garwah district of Jharkhand threatened three Christian families who had converted from Hinduism in the village, warning them to stop following Christ or be severely beaten. Pastor Arjun Karmagi, field coordinator of Gospel Echoing Missionary Society, told Compass that the extremists threatened to force the families of the Christians, Raghuvir Chowdhary, Purnima Devi and Mahendra Chowdhary, to the Ganges River in Banaras city to reconvert them back to Hinduism. The Christians fled the area and are now in hiding.
Jharkhand – Hindu extremists beat five Christian families for their faith in Christ on May 28 in Laherbanjari, Palamu district. The Evangelical Fellowship of India reported that a week earlier about 20 Hindu extremists had threatened Pastor Sanjay Choudary of the Gospel Echoing Missionary Society, warning him to stop leading worship meetings or be beaten. Christians filed a complaint, and police on May 28 visited the area. Immediately after the police left, the enraged extremists appeared and started beating the five Christian families, including the women. One woman, Mala Devi, suffered internal injuries and was hospitalized at Sadar Hospital. Another Christian woman, Kalavati Devi, was reportedly still missing. The Christians fled their houses and at press time were still in hiding.
Uttar Pradesh – Hindu extremists in Bhopura, Sahidabad on May 19 threatened Pastor Sanju Mahananda of the Believers Church, telling him to stop construction of his church building. A Believers Church representative told Compass that Pastor Mahananda was constructing a pastor’s residence/prayer hall when the extremists appeared and threatened to demolish it if he continued building. Christians stopped the construction work but filed a police complaint.
Chhattisgarh – Hindu extremists in Jangir, Champa district on May 20 attacked a Christian because of his faith. A source told Compass that the extremists had threatened a Christian convert from Hinduism who goes by a single name, Tarzan, on Feb. 20 for following Christ and singing gospel songs. They warned him to stop his Christian activity or face harm. Led by Jharu Ram Manohar, the extremists on May 20 attacked him for continuing to follow Christ, beating him, destroying his house and keeping him from using the village pond. The next day the extremists filed a police complaint against him for “misbehavior.” The Christian filed a counter-complaint against the extremists, but no action has been taken by the police at press time.
Uttar Pradesh, India, May 20 (CDN) — On May 8 in Baskeria, Sonbhadra district, Hindu extremists from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh threatened to beat a pastor if he conducts future worship meetings in the area. The Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) reported that Hindu extremists stopped Pastor B. Vijaya Kumar, his wife and daughter as they were going back home after leading a prayer meeting in a Christian’s home. The extremists rushed them and started questioning the pastor about his visit and activities, according to EFI. Pastor Kumar told them that he was doing social work and teaching about the gospel to the Christians. During the questioning, some of the extremists told each other they would beat the pastor when they found him alone. After the extremists had detained the Christians for three hours, police arrived and questioned him. Officers told him to leave the area immediately, and that if anything happened to him and his family, they would not be responsible. Local dailies have published false reports alleging Pastor Kumar converted people to Christianity by offering monetary benefits, according to EFI.
Madhya Pradesh – Police arrested Shivraj Maravi on May 4 after Hindu extremists filed a complaint against him of forceful conversion in Khirpani, Dindori district. The Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) reported that the extremists stopped Maravi, of Kalyan Nandas Church, from renovating his small house because they opposed his faith in Christ; Christians sometimes hold Sunday services in his home. On April 14, area Hindu extremists had stopped Maravi as he began the renovations. The Christian submitted a police complaint, but no First Information Report was registered. On May 4, as Maravi again tried to work on the house, the extremists stopped him and filed a complaint against him. Police initially arrested him under Section 151 of India’s penal code, a preventative section officers can use if they suspect someone is about to commit a crime, but later he was charged with forcible conversion under the state’s “anti-conversion” act, ironically called the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, and jailed. Maravi was released on bail on May 6. He submitted a letter of complaint to the district collector, but at press time the office had begun no inquiry. Meantime, Maravi told EFI he has also stopped construction work due to fear of an extremist attack.
Maharashtra – Hindu extremists in Manglidhar on May 2 stopped construction of a church building in Manglidhar district and imposed a boycott on Christians. A source who requested anonymity reported that C. Venganna made his plot of land available for a worship place, but when Christians began building, the Hindu extremists forcibly halted them and told them to construct their church building in a jungle far from the village. The Christians submitted a police complaint in Abhona Thana, but police told them to get permission from the village head. The village head refused to help them. In the ensuing boycott, the Hindu extremists prohibited the Christians’ vehicles from carrying vegetables to market, the means of livelihood for most of them. The extremists ordered the Christians to leave the village and warned them that they would not allow their children to attend the local school. At press time the Christians were seeking help from Christian leaders.
Kerala – Muslim radicals attacked two Christians as they showed Christian films outdoors on April 30 in Kakkunadu. The All India Christian Council reported that the extremists beat Pastor Prakash and Josh Prakash, and then police took both Christians into custody and questioned them until 3:30 a.m. Neither party filed a police complaint. The Muslim extremists threatened the Christians with violence if they showed more films. Last year on July 4 in Muvattupuzha, Kottayam district, Muslim radicals cut off the hand of a Christian professor at Newman College, Thodupuzha, whom they accused of blasphemy.