Pastor M.Varghese (72 years) ministers with The Indian Pentecostal Church of God (IPC) in Kollam, which is a city in the state of Kerala, on India’s Malabar Coast. The 72 year old Pastor has been leading a Church which regularly gathers around 50 believers. They meet on a property which also has a house on it, in which the Pastor lives. It was purchased under the name of IPC.
On 17/03/2020, Pastor Varghese called The Persecution Relief Toll Free No : 1800-1234-461 to report a case of persecution. For the past few months now, the Church is being harassed by a religious fanatic.(name withheld) Initially, the Pastor made a complaint at the local police station and also filed a complaint atthe High Court. He was then granted police protection by the court.
The fanatic who lives in the neighbourhood, has been harassing and threatening Pastor Varghese saying that he will see to it that the Church does not function on that property. Some time ago, he demolished the boundary of the IPC property under the pretext of needing an access to the main road, in spite of already having a way out from another part of his land.
On 23/02/2020 a member of the Church, who was on his way to attend a prayer meeting, was deliberately hit by a motorcyclewhich the fanatic was riding. On 13/03/2020 the same thing happened to Keshav, another member of the Church. While Keshav was walking to Church, the fanatic approached him on a motorcycle and purposely hit him. Keshav, who was caught by surprise, fell to the ground and injured himself. The fanatic thenbegan shouting and creating a commotion. Pastor Vargheseimmediately rushed out as soon as he heard the commotion. The fanatic then began threatening him as well.
“We have been harassed ever since we purchased the property.” Pastor Varghese told Persecution Relief. Pray for the protection of Pastor Varghese and the Church. Pray that the fanatic would have a change of heart and cease from harassing the IPC.
Psalm71:14-But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more. A day will come when He will rule over all the earth and every one will confess that he is Lord. When that happens, Life will change, Persecution will vanish, there will be no more war, sickness, sin or death. Jesus will make everything beautiful. Are you looking forward to his second coming?
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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