A daily reality presenting the increasing pattern of discrimination and harassment toward Christianity brings forth a grim picture of persecution encountered by Christians that continues to worsen. Sadly it remains unchecked. An action plan to combat impunity should be in place. Addressing the different types of atrocities perpetrated by religious groups or individuals has become all the more essential. Here is a telling story pf Pastor Lokesh Hinekar who was falsely implicated by his neighbors seeking vengeance for refusing to cow down to their unreasonable demands.
Pastor Hinekar shares his plight of persecution….
I live in a villager in District Nagpur, Maharashtra and had been conducting worship services for the past 12 years. I was approached by a couple Rajesh and Pooja Pansare(names changed for security reasons), who are the very neighbours causing trouble for me, as they desired to move into my current rented place. I refused to vacate and so did the landlord give in to their constant nagging in having me vacate the place.
The couple continued to fill the ears of the landlord against me who did not pay heed at all. They then conspired together to forcefully have me to vacate the premises by video recording me and accusing me of passing lewd remarks and using seductive gestures to lure the wife of the neighbour while I was in my garden. This went on for two months with them stalking me everywhere I went and monitoring my every move. Little did I anticipate that they would implicate me with false charges of forcing the woman with the intent to outrage her modesty.
They lodged a complaint against me at the nearby police station but what shocked me was the police filing an FIR against me under IPC 1860 Section 354 on Friday, 23 July, 2021. They had investigated the complaint by the neighbour couple on the basis of a video recording made by them which clearly shows I was doing no such activity as falsely accused by them.
The couple went a step further to defame me on social media and circulated the story in the local newspaper. However, they have never confronted me face-to-face on this matter. The police also inquired about my character from the other neighbours to whom this couple circulated the videos. The police came home to arrest me on 23 July, 2021, however, instead of arresting me they called me to police station to surrender myself. I went to the police station on Saturday, 24 July, 2021 but there was no one available to arrest me as the police had gone out on field duty.
I am innocent, but with the couple determined to slander and malign me just so that I will vacate the premises, it is extremely difficult to prove it. I dread every day as I see my family suffer this humiliation and live in fear of the future if I get arrested.
I don’t know where this will lead us to as the same couple were involved in complaining about me to the police on the same false lines of accusation two months ago. A compromise with them sorted out matters then. However, this time around, they seem determined to get me behind bars. As they have resorted to slandering my name, none are ready to rent out their premises to us. We are viewed as trouble by our neighbours and no one wants to associate with us. I am stuck in a no-go situation but my eyes fixed are on Jesus. I was released later on bail.
Even though such incidents of perpetrating slander and intimidations unabatedly persist against Christians, the efforts to voice out and expose such unjust acts must continue. Persecution Relief will continue to advocate for and stand by our persecuted Christian brethren by providing all practical assistance. We encourage the Body of Christ to remain and persist in prayers for God’s justice to prevail.
James 1:12 “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”
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