Persecution Watch, Sept. 13, 2015
Church worship service disrupted. Pastor asked to leave house at Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh
August 2, 2015: Hindu extremists disrupted Sunday worship at a local house Church in Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh on August 2, 2015. Pastor Nandlal stays in a rented accommodation at Ghazipur and leads a house Church. While the Sunday service was going on, Hindu radicals stormed in and disrupted the worship service. They ordered the Christians to stop worshipping and threatened Pastor Nandlal of dire consequences if he did not leave the area. Due to pressure from the radicals, the house owner has also asked Pastor Nandlal to leave his house and find some other alternative. No FIR has been registered yet. Ghazipur district is one of the four districts that form the Varanasi division of Uttar Pradesh.
Christians threatened and beaten at Chhattisgarh
August 8, 2015: A mob of 500 villagers targeted the small Christian community at Dhanora, Chhattisgarh after they refused to renounce Christianity. The Christians had been summoned to a community meeting where they were accused of spreading Christianity and were pressured to renounce Christianity or face the consequences. The Christians were reportedly threatened with ouster from the village and were told that they will not be allowed to harvest the crop for their fields. However the Christians did not agree so they were beaten up. No FIR has been filed till date.
Three Evangelists attacked by Hindu radicals at Karnal, Haryana
August 9, 2015: Evangelists Tinku Ram, Rajesh Singh and Karan Singh of Bhaini Kalan village of Karnal District, were attacked and severely beaten by attackers carrying iron rods on August 9, 2015 at 6:30 pm. The Evangelists were returning to their village from Gharaunda city also in Karnal District. According to Rajesh Kumar, the attackers struck him hard twice with iron roads at the back of his head resulting in him being unconscious. However according to Tinku Ram and Karan Singh, even after that the attackers did not stopped kicking and thrashing Rajesh’s unconscious body. He suffered 14 stiches on his head as a result of the beating. Karan Singh and Tinku Ram were also beaten up as a result of which, Karan Singh broke his leg and his forearms. The doctors later performed a surgery on Karan Singh and put steel plates to hold his hand in place. An FIR has been filed but no arrests have been made till date.
False case leads to arrest of Pastor at Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh
August 9, 2015: Hindu radicals targeted a community of Christians at Padlava, Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh and the Pastor Ramesh Vasuniya was manhandled and arrested on false charges on August 9, 2015. The Church led by Pastor Vasuniya was pelted with stones while the Church service was going on. Soon the police arrived and arrested Pastor Vasuniya even while the Church service was in progress. He was falsely charged with throwing stones at the “Kanwariyas” (Hindu people going to pilgrimage) and charged with a case of forced conversion under the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act. He was also charged under section 295 A of the Indian Penal Code. Local media amplified the false charge against the Pastor and it is with great difficulty that he was finally bailed out.
Naxalites kill Christian in Bahiramgarh, Chhattisgarh
August 12, 2015: According to reports received from local Christians in Bhairamgarh, Chhattisgarh, Naxalites killed Sukhdev Negi, an influential Christian, in the view of his family members. The killers also beat up his neighbours when they protested Negi’s killing. Local Christians have approached the police but no action has been taken till date. Ealier in 2013, Sahdev, Negi’ brother had been kidnapped by Naxalites and at the time of release had been warned never to return to his own village or to speak about Christianity.
Pastor killed in Malkangiri, Orissa
August 17, 2015: According to reports received from local Christians, Pastor Gurumurthy Madi was killed by a group of Naxalites at Malkangiri district of Orissa. Pastor Madi was 29 years old and it is believed that he was killed because he refused to hand over a fellow pastor who was a former Naxalite. He leaves behind his wife and three children aged 8, 6 and 2.
Lady Pastor attacked, beaten up and stabbed in Punjab
August 23, 2015: Pastor Rani Gill from Rambagh, Boli Inderjeet, district Batala, Punjab was attacked in a gruesome manner by high caste Jatt Sikhs who opposed her presence and work of preaching in the area. The incident took place on Sunday, August 23, 2015 around 4 pm. The attackers, who were armed with spears and iron rods, beat up Pastor Rani Gill on the head with iron rods and pushed a spear in her left breast resulting in sever injuries. A Church member who tried to protect Pastor Gill was also attacked with a sharp knife, which resulted in his head getting a sharp cut down to his neck. He was hospitalized in a serious condition. This is not the first time that Pastor Rani Gill has had to face opposition. According to reports, the same group of attackers have been creating trouble for her for the last 6 years. There have been multiple attacks on the Church members who come for worship and once the attackers even climbed the Church roof and urinated on the Cross. An FIR has been filed with the local police.
Pastor arrested for preaching at Gazipur, Uttar Pradesh
August 23, 2015: Pastor Dinesh Yadav was attacked and beaten up by Hindu extremists at Saidpur, District Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh on August 23, 2015. According to reports the attack took place without provocation and was so severe that Pastor Dinesh Yadav still bleeds from his ears due to internal injuries. The attackers later took Pastor Yadav to the Khanpur Police Station where he was arrested and charged with forced conversion.
Christian meeting disrupted by Hindu extremists; Three Christians arrested in Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh
August 23, 2015: A Christian meeting was attacked and disrupted by Hindu extremists at Navegaon village, Junnardeo, Chhindwara district of Madhya Pradesh. According to reports from local Christians, around 30 members of Bajrang Dal attacked the Christian worship meeting held at the house of Mohan Masadkar. The attackers who were accompanied by the police, beat up the Christians gathered for the meeting, abused them in filthy language and manhandled the congregation, which included women and children. The Police arrested four Christians including a woman Basanti Mahobe and the owner of the house Mohan Masadkar. They were charged under sections 3 and 4 of the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act and Section 295 A of the Indian Penal Code. The Christians were bailed out after an ordeal that lasted 5 days.
Christians boycotted at Lupungi, Jharkhand. Threatened with explusion
August 23, 2015: 4 Tribal Christian families from Lupungi Masasai, Jagnathpur, Chaibasa, Jharkhand, were summoned by the village council and threatened with boycott and ouster from the village if they did not renounce Christianity. The meeting allegedly was organized to discuss village issues and Christians were invited without informing them of the agenda of the council. The village along with the Christian families were instructed during this meeting to not let the Christian families take water from the village well, to not let the animals owned by the Christians graze in the village meadow. The Christians were also informed that their tribal certificates will be cancelled and they would be sent out of the village in a few days if they did not renounce their Christian faith. The Christian families have contacted the local police station but no action has been taken yet.
Pastor arrested on false charges of conversion in Shahdol, Madhya Pradesh
August 27, 2015: Pastor Thanuram Yadav from Pipariya village was arrested by the police on alleged false charges of conversion on August 27, 2015. “Pastor Yadav was picked up from his house and was brought to the Sohagpur police station and was locked up there. This happened without any proper investigation by the local police inspector,” said EFI local correspondent Pastor Ashawan. Pastor Yadav was also charged under Section 153 of the Indian Penal Code as reported in the local media. He was later bailed out after local Christian leaders pressed for his release.
Christians expelled at Sagarkatta, Jharkhand
August 28, 2015: Seven Christian families from Sagarkatta village, Chaibasa, Jharkhand have been expelled from their village because they are Christians. This decision was conveyed to the Christians at a village meeting called on August 28, 2015 by one Gomiya Biruwa. The Christians were told that their tribal certificates would be cancelled, their animals would not be allowed on the village pastures, they would not be allowed to take water from the village well and are not to use the village pond. The villagers were instructed in the presence of Christians in this meeting that on September 9, 2015, all property belonging to the seven Christian families is to be destroyed / taken over. The Christians have approached the local police station but no action has been taken. Reports have also come from the nearby Bichaburu village in which 31 Christian families have been targeted in a similar way.
Christian prayer meeting attacked and Christians beaten up at Palamu, Jharkhand
September 4, 2015: A Christian prayer meeting was attacked by Hindu extremists at Hutugdag village, Palamu district, Jharkhand. The incident took place around 11 am when about 35 Christians were gathered and praying. Suddely around 15 Hindu extremists armed with weapons attacked the meeting and started beating the Christians. Four Christians who have been seriously injured are admitted in the hospital even at the time of writing this report. No FIR has been filed.
Three Christians including Pastor arrested in Dhar, Madhya Pradesh
September 5, 2015: Pastor Paras Bilwal and two local Christians were mobbed and taken to the police station on charges of forced conversion on September 5, 2015 at Amjhera, Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh. The incident took place when Pastor Paras Bilwal and two other Christians identified as Raju and Roopsingh were visiting Christians in a hamlet called Nankhodara. Hindu groups came to know about their visit and soon over 60 people surrounded the three and started questioning them. The Christians were threatened, pushed around and taken to the local police outpost in Kesvi where they were arrested under Section 295 A of the Indian Penal Code and under Sections 3 and 4 of the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act. Bail attempts for them are still on at the time of writing this report.
Fourteen Christians arrested at Dhar, Madhya Pradesh
September 6, 2015: The police arrested 14 Christians on charges of disrupting peace on September 6, 2015 at Tanda village, Bagh Block, District Dhar, in Madhya Pradesh. The Christians were holding a peaceful prayer service. Earlier the Pastor of the congregation Suresh Mandloi and some evangelists were threatened by local Hindu extremists under the influence of the village head and were told not to hold prayer meetings at Tanda village. The pastor had approached the police for protection but found out that the radicals had already submit a complaint against him with the police, so had decided not to conduct the prayer service. The Church members however gathered and were praying in the absence of the Pastor when they were attacked by a mob of over 150 people. The mob manhandled Christians and even women and children present were roughed up. Fourteen Christians were taken to the Tanda Police Station and were charged under section 151 of the Indian Penal Code. They were bailed out the next day but the situation in the village remains tense.
Christians arrested in Seoni, Madhya Pradesh. Charged with forced conversion
September 6, 2015: Two Christians, Sunny Oman and John Alexander from Seoni district, Madhya Pradesh were arrested and detained at the Barghat police station on charges of forced conversion on September 6, 2015. The Christians, both members of the Church of North India at Seoni, were invited to visit by Kapoor Chand Gedam, a local resident of Kesla Kala village after Sunday worship on September 6. Kesla Kala village is about 25 kilometres from Seoni city. During their visit, around 100 people mobbed the two Christians. The mob manhandled them lightly, questioned them and then took them over to the police station at Barghat, where the Christians were charged under the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act on complaint from one Devendra Thakur. They were bailed late that evening.
Christian prayer meeting attacked at Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh. Pastor injured, Goat killed
September 10, 2015: Hindu extremists pelted stones and attacked a prayer meeting going on at Fattiguda, Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh on September 10, 2015 at 11 am. The prayer meeting was going on at the home of Illiya Vasunia, who is a Church elder. Pastor Ajmer Singh Damor who was preaching at the meeting was attacked and severely beaten up by the attackers who were about 25 in number. This resulted in serious head injuries for the Pastor. A goat belonging to Illiya Vasunia, which was tied in front of his house was cut and killed by a sword. Women and children present at the meeting were manhandled as well. Pastor Ajmer’s wife Renita was also beaten up, as was another local Christian called Dillu Bhai. Pastor Ajmer was unconscious for about 5 hours due to the beating. He is being taken to Dahod for further treatment, as facilities for his kind of injuries are not available at the local hospital. Dillu Bhai also received stiches on his head due to the beating. The local police station was approached for filing of an FIR but the police initially did not cooperate. It was only when Christian leaders approached higher authorities was an FIR filed.
Rev. Dr. Richard Howell,
Evangelical Fellowship of India
New Delhi, India