Persecution Watch, January 27, 2016
We request prayers that the church would continue to serve the nation and faithfully share the Gospel of Jesus Christ which brings about reconciliation with God and one another.
Pastor arrested in Lakhanpur, Surguja district, Chattisgarh
January 1, 2016: Pastor Johan Kujur from Lakhanpur village, Sarguja district was arrested after local Hindu extremist accused him of carrying out conversion in the village. The Hindu extremists not only manhandled the Pastor but also pressurized the police to take action against him. Local Hindu extremist leaders also surrounded the police station and organized a rally to stop the release of the pastor.
Christians beaten up, arrested in Ludhiana, Punjab
January 2, 2016: A team of Christian students was targeted and beaten up by Hindu extremists in Village Korara, Hiran, Ludhiana on January 2, 2016 while they were distributing Bible tracts and portions. Local Hindu extremists locked up one of the Christian students and beat him up. The rest of the students were beaten up as they tried to rescue their friend. All of them were then taken to the Jandiali police station where more than 50 Bajrang Dal people surrounded the police station and pressured the police to register a case against the students. It was only after local Christian leaders intervened that the students were let go after six hours of staying in the police station.
Christian attacked, injured in Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu
January 3, 2016: A mob of around 50 Hindu fundamentalists attempted to erect a temple about 50 feet away from the local Church at Thiruvattar on a disputed land. The police however intervened and stopped the construction of the unauthorized structure.
The next morning however, during a prayer service in the Church, the police inspector of the Thiruvattar police station, forcibly entered the Church premises with several policemen, disrupted the worship service, verbally abused the pastors and Church members present, and physically assaulted them, even caning them. It is reported that the police van was used to throw stones on the Church members. This sudden attack on the Christian resulted in serious injuries for many who them had to be admitted to the local District hospital at Thuckalay.
Pastors and workers of Christian orphanage home Arrested in Noida, Uttar Pradesh
January 5, 2016: Pastor Mary Masih, Bhola Singh, Pinki Singh (wife of Bhola Singh) and their two minor children were arrested on charges of conversion from Emmanuel Sewa Ashram, Kidki Village, Goutam Budh Nagar, Noida on 5th January 2016. They were kept in lock up for four days before the Bisrakh Police Station, Noida produced them in court.
The two minor children aged 7 and 5 years, were kept in lock up for more than 48 hours and were made to sleep on the floor without any bed or blanket and no proper food or warm clothes were given to them. This resulted in both of them becoming sick. Hence they were released earlier.
The orphanage itself has been targeted by an NGO that conducted raid on the said orphanage alleging mistreatment of children and forced conversion to christianity. Emmanuel Sewa Ashram denies these allegations. However print and electronic media have covered this event giving a very negative tone agianst the Christian community.
Pastor threatened with death and arrested in Jalandhar, Punjab
January 6, 2016: Pastor Harjot Singh Sethi and a Christian man identified as Honey belonging to Christ Power Ministries, Jalandhar were threatened by an angry mob of around 80 people. The mob which is believed to be largely comprised of RSS members, disrupted a prayer meeting being conducted by Pastor Harjot Singh at Mr. Rajkumar’s residence. Mr. Rajkumar is a Christian and lives near Tanda Chowk in Jalandhar city. The Mob not only disrupted the meeting but also locked up Pastor Sethi and Honey inside Mr. Rajkumar’s house, raising slogans against them and accusing them of conversions. Somehow Pastor Sethi managed to inform local Christian leaders who then called the police, who came and took Pastor Sethi and Honey in their custody for their safety. They were later released.
Christian including a Pastor and his wife, attacked in Rajpura, Punjab
January 7, 2016: Four Christians including a pastor and his wife were attacked and severely beaten up by Sikh extremists at Rajpura, Punjab. Pastor Darshan Singh (33), Swaranjeet Kaur (wife of Pastor Darshan Singh, 32), Sukhwinder Singh (28) and Gurmeet Kaur (55) were at Pastor Darshan Singh’s house when the attack took place.
The attackers used sharp weapon that resulted in serious injuries to the Christians. Pastor Darshan received deep cut on his head. The attackers also tried to run over Gurmeet Kaur using a Toyota station wagon (Innova). The Christians were initially admitted at the local government hospital but when their health condition deteriorated they were shifted to Christian Medical College hospital in Ludhiana.
Christian School demolished in Seoni, Madhya Pradesh
January 8, 2016: Local authoriets demolished the Aakriti Convent School a Christian educational institution, with the help of Hindu extremists in Dutera village of Keolari tahsil in Seoni district. The school was started by Pastor Sumit Bihuniya in 2001. The construction of the same was commenced after completing all legal formalities and after obtaining clearance from the local authorities. But local Hindu extremists had starting opposing the school for sometime and Pastor Bihuniya had been receiving threats. After the recent demolition, the pastor has left the village with his family members because of threat to their lives.
8 Christian believers arrested in Dewas, Madhya Pradesh
January 8, 2016: Police arrested 8 Christian from Katafod, Satwas tehsil, Dewas district on charges of forced conversions. The Christians were arrested after a prayer meeting at a local Christian’s house was disrupted by Hindu extremists. The police came soon afterwards and arrested the Christians.
Pastor attacked for second time in Satna, Madhya Pradesh
January 9, 2016: Pastor Anil Jaiswal was attacked and severley beaten by 4 Hindu extremists in Satna, Madhya Pradesh. The beating was so sever that he had to be hospitalized after the attack. The attackers threatened and warned him against preaching.
Earlier, on 2nd October 2015, Anil Jaiswal had been arrested by the police on charges of forced conversions. The arrest had taken place at a school located at Majhgawan, a small town in Satna district. Two other Christians i.e. Stephen Rajkumar and Harilal were also charged under the Madhya Pradesh freedom of religion act at that time.
Christians attacked in Udaipur, Rajasthan
January 10, 2016: Hindu fundamentalists brutally beat up 8-10 persons who were going to church at palan village, Udaipur, Rajasthan. Two of them were critically injured during the attack. The attack took place when the victims were just 500 meters away from the church and were heading there for Sunday worship service. The Christians were beaten up in the presence of the police but no one came to their rescue. The police, including a Station Head (SHO) watched as Christians were beaten up and their vehicles damaged. Instead the beaten up Christians were taken to the local police station for questioning.
Sunday worship meeting disrupted and Christians attacked in Tonk, Rajasthan
January 10, 2016: Pastor Rakesh Bhagora, who leads a Church in Tonk city, Rajasthan, was beaten up along with members of his Church by a crowd of 25 plus people. The Church was having their regular Sunday worship when the attack took place. The mob of 25 plus people tresspassed the Church property, disrupted the worship service and started beating Pastor Rakesh and other believers. The attackers damaged the Church property and took away the Bibles and literature in the Church and tore it. Police followed the attackers and arrested Pastor Rakesh and his wife and took them to the Police station on alleged charges of conversion.
Christian Convention and Church Building Construction stopped in Khargone, Madhya Pradesh
January 11, 2016: Hindu extremists forcibly stopped a Christian convention meeting scheduled to take place from 18th-21st Jan 2016 in Bhagwanpura village of Khargone distict of Madhya Pradesh. The extremists also stopped construction of a Church building in the same village with the help of local police. The Hindu group alleged that after the constuction of the Church building massive conversion of Hindus to Christianity would take place in the area.
12 Christians including a blind couple and their minor son arrested in Dhar, Madhya Pradesh
January 14, 2016: 13 people, including six women, from Dhar district were arrested during a prayer meeting on alleged charges of conversion levelled by local Hindu groups. They were participating in a prayer meeting at the Dehar village that is the border of the Dhar and Badwani districts of Madhya Pradesh.
Among those arrested were a blind couple and their 3 year old minor son. The Christians were kept under arrest at the Kukshi Police Station and were charged under sectons 151, 153 A of the Indian Penal Code and under the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act. 7 people including the blind couple and their son were bailed out on January 16th, while the others were bailed out on January 20th.
Christian arrested in Mahasamund, Chhattisgarh
January 14, 2016: Local police arrested a Christian, Lalaram Sahu, from Bamhani, Mahasamund district while distributing Christian tracts in the village. After receiving complaint from local Hindu groups, the police arrested Mr. Sahu. He was later produced before a magistrate in the local court and was charged under Section 295(A) of the Indian Penal Code. Police also recovered 580 tracts from him as evidence.
Christian believer threatened to renounce his faith in Christianity in Gondia, Maharashtra
January 15, 2016: Rajesh Kure, a Christian, from Gondia city of Maharashtra was threatened by Hindu extremists who also initiated a social boycott against him in order to convert him into Hinduism. Mr. Kurre who has faced regular threats from Hindu extremists is fearing for his life after being threatened that he would be killed if he did not convert to Hinduism. He was also verbally abused and manhandled. No FIR has been registered till date due to fear.
Christian youth meeting disrupted at Coimbatore district, Tamil Nadu
January 15, 2016: A Christian youth meeting being held at a banquet hall between Tirupur junction and Vanchipalayam was disrupted by a mob of Hindu extremists. The attackers tried to enter the venue of the Christian youth meeting forcibly but were stopped by the police in time.
Church destroyed, Christian beaten up in Orissa
January 15, 2016: According to reports received, a Church was completely destroyed in Malkangiri, Orissa, by a mob consisting of local villagers and some drunk people, on January 15, 2016. A Christian who tried to stop them was beaten up very badly. Local Christians were threatened with dire consequences that their lands, houses and ration cards would be snatched away and they would not be allowed to stay in the village.
Rev. Dr. Richard Howell,
Evangelical Fellowship of India
New Delhi, India