4 Days Without Drinking Water, Karnataka.
Drinking water has been denied to a Christian family who live in the Indian state of Karnataka. On the 02-06-2020, the local villagers gathered together and warned *Mannu and his family to leave the village for good if they still wanted to follow the Christian faith. Speaking to Persecution Relief, *Pastor David, who is also the family’s pastor, explained that the entire family was absolutely strong in their faith and bravely declined. It has been 4 days since the family has had access to drinking water, a basic privilege, no one should be denied of.
“Apart from cutting off their government water supply, the village headman has also banned daily-wagers from entering the village and helping Mannu to work his fields” said Pastor David. Besides their own home, Mannu and his family who are farmers by profession, own around 5 acres of land in the village. The village head man has threatened to excommunicate the family and disqualify them from their own inheritance which has been passed down from generation to generation if they do not adhere to his demands.
No written notice or letter was provided to this effect. Along with denying them of their basic necessities, the villagers are also hindering their occupational activities that allow them to earn some money and put food on the table. Even the daily wagers who help Mannu in the fields are being denied their only source of income and are struggling to survive because of the Covid-19 Crisis.
A complaint was registered on the same day at the local police station regarding the same but the police did not address the situation for 4 days. A Persecution Relief correspondent spoke to the Additional Superintendent of Police, Mr. Rajeev M regarding the matter. He assured us that he would look into the matter as soon as possible.
On the evening of 06-06-2020, Pastor David called to say that the police came to the village and spoke to Mannu and his family. The police collected the necessary evidence with pictures of the disconnected water pipes and blocked pathways that led to the fields. Before leaving the village, they also interrogated the Village head men. Investigations are still underway.
Mannu, his sister*Rita and their entire household have been faithfully following the Christian faith for over 15 years. Every Sunday. “They travel about 45-50 kms every week to attend the Sunday Prayer and Worship service.” Said Pastor David. The village houses 50 families in total, of which, Mannu’s is the only Christian household.
Numerous families are primarily driven out of their villages under the pretext of religious intolerance. In reality, these attacks are intentional and calculated. Most villages today have a meagre number of Christian inhabitants. On an average, one may find around 3- 4 Christian homes living amongst a village of 50 families of a different faith.
All that is needed to spark an opposition against the Christians is a hand full of narrow-minded and scheming religious bigots. One will always find a few of these in every village across the country. These are the ones that play the role of a rotten apple in a basket of good ones. What harm could a few Christian families possibly do to an entire village? Yet the religious goons poison the minds of ignorant villagers and ultimately succeed in turning, sometimes the entire village against a few harmless Christians.
These devious opportunities are used to harass, threaten, assault, boycott and eventually excommunicate the Christians from the village. Sometimes fleeing for their lives with only the clothes on their backs, the fearful Christians leave everything behind, including their homes, properties and inheritance. Abandoned homes and properties then become an easy target for the power-hungry, greedy and selfish goons.
Most victims complain about the local authorities and police not showing much interest towards their grievances. Some have even protested about the officials being biased towards the perpetrators. In extreme cases, these attacks inspired by fanatical religious ideals, are indeed aimed at purging innocent Christians from their very own communities, thrusting them from the frying pan, into the fire.
Do pray for the villagers to stop harassing Mannu and his family. Pray that they would have access to drinking water at the earliest. Pray that the villagers would open the pathway to their fields and allow the farmers to work. More importantly, pray that the God would change the heart of the Village head men and cause them to come to a mutual understanding.
In Matthew 27: 27-31, we learn how Jesus was mocked by the soldiers. Jesus knows what it feels like to be bullied, both verbally and physically. He went through persecution in all its various forms and intensities. Did he deserve it? No. It was unfair. When we face times of trials, especially when we know we don’t deserve it. We have the privilege of talking to the prince of peace. He understands, listens and he cares for you and me.
From January 2016 to March 2020, Persecution Relief has recorded 1961 cases of Hate crimes against Christians in India. In the 1st Quarter of 2020, we recorded 187 cases. Between 1st Quarter of 2016 to 1st Quarter of 2020, there has been a rise of 128.04 % of Hate Crimes against Christians all across the country. In 1st Quarter of 2016, we have recorded 82 cases, in 2017 – 134, 2018 – 117, 2019 – 130 and in 2020 we recorded 187 cases of Christian Persecution. 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.
In 2019 we have 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. 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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