Arrested on false charges of conversion, Jharkhand,
On 15th January, Bro. Krishna Kumar and Bro. Daud Malto were arrested during a prayer meeting that was being held at the residence of a Mr. Santosh, at Sonajodi village, Dist Pakud in the Indian state of Jharkhand.
Mr. Santosh, lives in Sonajodi village along with his wife and 4 children. A prosperous man with vast lands, possessions and lavish life style, he was the cynosure of the village, which made him any enemies. It is alleged that because of jealousy, he was a victim of black magic, which made him mentally sick. His sickness was so acute that Mr. Santosh had to be tied up in chains. The desperate family were willing to go to any lengths for the his treatment but nothing worked.
Subsequently, through a relative, they contacted Mr. Abraham, who shared about the healing power of Jesus Christ, who heals mind body and soul. The family used to travel 40 kms every Sunday, to Jhaldhigi, to hear the word of God.
God honoured their faith and Mr. Santosh was completely healed. For a while, the family attended prayer meetings and worship service but later, Mrs. Beby Das began to lose interest and eventually stopped to attending Church altogether.
Mr. Santosh relapsed into his previous mental illness. Again, the cycle of treatment and hopelessness ensued.
After several months, Mrs. Beby Das came to Church with tears, pleading for prayers during the Sunday worship service at Barharwa. Once again, God was faithful and in answer to the missionary and believers’ prayers, God healed Mr. Santosh once again.
Unhappy with the neighbours and villagers, Mr. Santosh was not keen on staying on at Sonajodi village. So, he moved out to live at his sister’s village at Rampur, a Pakud district, Jharkhand.
Mrs. Beby Das started attending regular Sunday service. After every Worship service, she would invite Pastor and the elders, to visit her home and conduct a prayer meeting.
Last Sunday, 13th January was no exception, as Mrs. Beby Das requested them to visit her home and have a prayer meeting. Bro. Krishan and Bro. Daud Malto agreed to go to her residence.
On 15th November, as the brothers travelled on their motor bike, Mrs. Sarah Abraham, (the relative and believer of Jhaldhigi Barharwa congregation), went by train to Mr. Santhosh Das’s house.
While they were praying in the house, some unknown persons locked the house from the outside and within a few minutes, the Police arrived. They took Bro. Krishan Kumar and Bro. Daud Malto to Police Station. Accompanying them was Sussana Marandi Village Head, Mr. Govind Ravidas, who belongs to a religious fundamentalist organisation, along with a Mr. Prasanna Mishra, Mr. Aniket Goswami, Mr. Sundeep Trivedi from Pakur. Alleging conversion activities, these men instigated the Police and demanded that these men be arrested.
A FIR be filed against both the Christians and they have been remanded in prison.
The Jharkhand Freedom of Religion Act 2017, criminalizes religious conversion. If found guilty, they face up to three years imprisonment or a fine of fifty thousand rupees (about $700 USD).
Learning of the turn of events, Mrs. Beby Das, wife of Mr. Santhosh Das, rushed to the Police Station, to clarify what exactly had happened. However, the Police refused to record her statement and sent her away.
Within a few hours, Media broke the News, lending credence to the anti-Christian propaganda that Christian Pastors were attracting people by using fraudulent means, luring them with money and threatening them if they did not convert.
However, Christian Leaders have alleged that this is a case of collusion between the local police and villagers
The Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Raghuvir Das has been known to make hateful and bitter statements about Christians and had threatened to imprison anyone involved in sharing their religion or belief.
Church, pray that the Government of Jharkhand will repeal the “Jharkhand Freedom of Religion Act 2017” which is being misused, as it gives the authorities arbitrary powers to investigate religious conversions
In 2018, Persecution Relief, recorded 19 incidents of persecution from the State of Jharkhand, ranked as the 7th most hostile state in India.
Church, pray for Bro. Krishan and Bro. Daud Malto that in spite of the painful incident, their faith will be steadfast and God’s abundant grace and mercy.
Please pray for their immediate release.
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