Persecution Watch, December 9, 2015
Christians threatened and warned at Rajnandgaon, Chhattisgarh
December 1, 2015: Hindu extremists threatened a family and warned them of dire consequences if they continued to attend worship services at Sundra village, Rajnandgaon, Chhattisgarh. Premlal Sahu and his family were at their home when suddenly a mob of 20 plus Bajrang Dal members barged into their home. The mob abused them in filthy language and warned them not to continue with their Christian faith. Local Christian leaders say that fear has seized this family after the incident and they are afraid to even report it to the police.
Pastor Hate Singh arrested at Barwani, Madhya Pradesh
November 28, 2015: Pastor Hate Singh Rawat from Barwani, Madhya Pradesh was arrested under section 151 of the Indian Penal Code. Pastor Singh along with a few other Pastors had gone earlier in the day to meet Mr. Chunnilal, Sarpanch (village-head) of the nearby Badgaon village, to seek his permission for a Christmas program at Badgaon. Badgaon is 3 kilometres away from Badwani where Pastor Hate Singh stays. The delegation of pastors were abused and turned away by Sarpanch Chunnilal who alleged that Christians are spoiling the culture of the village by spreading western religion. Later that day, Pastor Hate Singh was summoned by the local police station on the pretext of questioning. When he got there, he was arrested and put behind bars. He was later released on bail the next day.
Church seminar attacked by Shiv Sena; Chairman detained for protection
November 27, 2015: Members of the Shiv Sena attacked at Church meeting at Mahoba and attempted to manhandle people present. A meeting was being held at the 100 plus year old Church at Mahoba, when suddenly members of the Shiv Sena trespassed into the Church premises and disrupted the prayer meeting. They beat up the Chairman of the Church, Mr. Pradeep Lal and raised slogans against Christianity and the Church. Soon the police arrived and took Mr. Pradeep Lal in custody. EFI-RLC called up the Additional Superintendent of Police, Mr. Neeraj Pandey, who assured us that Mr. Lal had only been taken to the police station for his protection, to prevent the situation from getting out of hand. He was later released.
Christians and Pastor arrested in Seoni, Madhya Pradesh
November 19, 2015: Police in Seoni, Madhya Pradesh arrested Pastor Rajendra Baghel and three other Christians on charges of hurting religious feelings. According to reports received, the local police inspector at the Seoni police station had summoned Pastor Rajendra Baghel and three other Christians for questioning. They were then arrested and put inside the lock up. EFI-RLC called the police station only to hear the Station In-Charge Mr. Shailesh Mishra say that no Christian has been detained. When a lawyer was sent to the police station to enquire as to why Pastor baghel and others had not returned home yet, he was informed that the Christians have been arrested under sections 153 A, 295 A of the Indian penal code. The Christians including Pastor Baghel were later bailed out and their case continues. This is the second case in Seoni in less than two months where Christians have been detained and arrested on frivolous charges.
Pastors beaten and then arrested in Khargone, Madhya Pradesh
November 6, 2015: Pastor Rajesh Morne and Saga Singh were beaten up by Hindu extremists and handed over to the police at Sendhwa, Khargone District, Madhya Pradesh. The attack took place without any provocation on the part of the Christians. The two pastors who work with the Indian Evangelical Team were visiting a group of Christians for fellowship and prayer. The Christians, who were eating their meal in peace were suddenly attacked by local Hindu extremists, who alleged that the Christians were involved in forced conversions. According to reports received the mob dragged Pastor Morne and Singh, beat them up, took them to police station and filed a criminal complaint against them under the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion act. The pastors were later bailed out. .
Christians detained at Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh after Bajrang Dal attacks them
November 4, 2015: Hindu extremists disturbed a Christian prayer meeting and manhandled the Christians present at village Todarpur, Shadiabad, District Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh. According to reports received, a team from Hallelujah mission, a Christian ministry based in Hyderabad, was visiting local Christians in the area and was participating in the prayer meeting organized by them. Members of the Hindu Mahasabha, Hindu Yuva Vahini and local BJP leaders disrupted the prayer meeting alleging forced conversions. They raised slogans and attempted to beat the Christians and the visiting team, which included women. The police soon intervened and detained the Christians for their safety. The Christian men who were detained were charged with disrupting peace while the police let off the women. The police also made the Christians give a commitment in writing that such meetings will not happen in the future.
Christians beaten up severely by the police in Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu
November 2, 2015: Noah and Rathnakumar, both volunteers with the Jesus Redeems ministry were beaten up by Sub Inspector Ravichandran stationed at Asaripallam, Nagercoil. According to reports received, both the volunteers were on their way home after placing flex boards for an upcoming Christian meeting at Nagercoil when they were intercepted by the police and carried to the Asaripallam police station. There the Sub Inspector Ravichandran beat them up while also continuing to abuse their Christian faith. The volunteers who are both under graduate students are severely injured and were admitted in the government hospital. Their physical complications including bleeding from their ears continue even till the writing of this report. Christian leaders have given a written complaint to the Superintendent of Police of the area, but no action has been taken as yet.
Church attack in Chhattisgarh injures Christians
October 25, 2015: Local Hindu extremists disrupted the Sunday worship service at the Kohkameta village, Bastar district, Chhattisgarh and beat up the Christians present injuring many in the process. Christians from the Kohkameta had been targeted for some time by Hindu extremists who wanted to end Christian activity in the area. According to local Christian leaders, the extremists had held a meeting on October 23, 2015 to give shape to the attack on the Church.
During the attack the Pastor Mehtu Karma suffered head injuries and fell unconscious. The attackers then proceeded to force Christians to sign documents stating that they were renouncing Christianity. When some Christians agitated they were beaten up. According to reports four Christian families renounced their faith due to fear. Many Christians who were injured had to be hospitalized where they were once again subject to pressure by the extremists who forced some of them to sign affidavits stating that they renounce Christianity. The Christians have approached the police but the Hindu extremists have also filed a complaint against the Christians and are threatening the Christians to take back their complaint.
Rev. Dr. Richard Howell,
Evangelical Fellowship of India
New Delhi, India