3 Christian Families beaten and threatened by mob, Bihar.
Pastor Baldev Baitha is a minister with Shalom Ministries in Bihar. He has been faithfully serving the local church there. The Bible draws comparison with a Pastor to that of a Shepherd. It is a Pastor’s responsibility to keep his flock intact and protect it from predators. However, religious fanatics across India are trying to threaten and harass the Shepherd by tormenting their sheep.
Amongst the members of the Church are 3 families that live in a village which is located in the Hathua Tehsil of the Gopalganjdistrict in Bihar, India. They are the only Christian families in their village and are facing tremendous persecution for their faith. The Religious fanatics are continuously threatening these 3 families to forsake their faith in Jesus Christ and convert back to Hinduism. However, these brave families are firm in their faith and have refused to forsake Christ under any circumstance.
On 10/3/20, a mob of around 100 people surrounded these families and began throwing stones at them. Furthermore, in what comes across as a horrible and disgusting act, the mob of religious goons began slinging cow dung at the home of Shailesh Mahato and Saroj Devi, one of the Christian families. They left threatening them to get out of the village. Later that day, the fanatics returned. They approached the home of another believer named Dharam and grabbed his son Vikas and physically assaulted him. They then made their way to the home of Shailesh. There they caught him and severely beat him up warning him to get out of the village as soon as possible. Holi celebrations were in full swing while the Christians were being persecuted.
As soon as the fanatics left, the petrified Christians franticallycalled Pastor Baldev for help. Pastor Baldev immediately calledPersecution Relief, desperately seeking help for his sheep. Wasting no time, Persecution Relief spoke to Shri Manoj Kumar (SP) Gopalganj, who proved kind enough to acknowledge ourcall, in light of the festival of Holi. He assured us of his help. A short while later, Pastor Baldev called Persecution Relief andinformed us that a team of police men had reached the village and have brought the situation under control.
On 11/3/20, Pastor Baldev told us that both parties were called to the police station and were asked to compromise with each other. Surprisingly, unlike many cases where the police are hand in glove with the police, These Policemen explained to the fanatics that the Christians are not indulging in anything illegal or unconstitutional and they had no right to stop them from worshiping the God of their Choice. Praise God!
Praise and thank God for his favour and protection over the 3 Christian families. Continue to keep them in your prayers, that God would shield them from any future attacks. Pray for the mob of over 100 religious fanatics. God would call them out of darkness and bring them into his marvellous light.
Psalm 71:14- ‘But I will hope continually, And will praise you yet more and more.’ David had called to the Lord for help and told God that he would continue to have hope in Him and praise Him in spite of his troubles. When things don’t go the way we want them to go and it feels like all hope is gone, have hope anyways, God is always faithful.
Bihar ranks as the 5th most Hostile state for Christians in India. Persecution Relief has recorded 30 cases of Hate Crimes against Christians in India.
Between January 2016 to December 2019, there has been a rise of 59.6% of Hate Crimes against Christians all across the country. In 2019 alone, Persecution Relief has recorded the maximum number of 527 cases compared to 447 cases in 2018, 440 in 2017 and 330 in 2016.
What stands out amongst the Hate Crimes in India is that 4 Christians were murdered in 2019. We recorded 199 incidents related to Threats, Intimidations & Harassments against Christians, 104 incidents of Church attacks, 85 incidents of Physical Violence reported which includes Women & Children, 100s of House Churches were forcefully closed down by Religious Fanatics and the local administrations.
The state of Uttar Pradesh has showed a shocking 179.4% leap in cases of Christian Persecution between 2016 to 2019! From 39 cases being reported in 2016, the number has sky rocketed to 109 cases in 2019 alone bringing the total count from across the country to 527 cases. Uttar Pradesh has proved to be the most hostile state in the country against Christians for the past 3 consecutive years. Tamil Nadu continues to rank as the second most hostile state in the country with 75 cases, followed by Karnataka with 32 cases, bringing the state of Maharashtra to number 4 with 31 cases and Bihar with 30 cases stands at number 5.
US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) ranked India’s persecution severity at “Tier 2” along with Iraq and Afghanistan. Over the past seven years, India has risen from No. 31 to No. 10 on Open Doors’ World Watch List, ranking just behind Iran in persecution severity.
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