Audacious intimidation by religious fanatic, Bihar
Sunday Worship Service was disrupted by religious fanatics on 24th February, 2019, when a lone religious fanatic, trespassed into the Church, shouting anti-Christian slogans and threats.
Around 60 members had congregated and worship service commenced at 10 a.m. In what appears to be a pre-meditated attack, the lone member of a hard-line right wing religious fanatic, stormed the Church sanctuary and began sloganeering.
Shouting slogans of ‘jai sri ram’ and anti-Christian slogans and slogans against Pastor, he demanded that the worship service be stopped,accusing the Pastor of conversion activities.
Speaking to Persecution Relief, Pastor Gyan Chand stated that,
“We could hear someone shouting ‘jai shri ram’,” referring to the cry of Hindus hailing their warrior-god.
“He was not from the neighbourhood as nobody recognized him”
The Church elders managed to gently lead him out of the Church.
Assuming that they had gotten rid of the belligerent fanatic, the worship service resumed. However, the emboldened youth returned again, chanting, yelling and screaming with impunity, intimidating and threatening the congregation. Again, he was led out of the Church by the elders.
When the assailant replicated the attack for the 3rdtime, Pastor Gyan Chand, stepped down from the pulpit, calmly and bravely approached him. He explained to him that no such conversion activities were talking place but that the teaching of Jesus Christ was being preached.
After this encounter with the Pastor, the lone aggressor, left on his ‘red colored’ motor bike and did not return.
Creating an atmosphere of fear by this sudden and hostile incursion, the congregated believers panicked. Some fled the Church, while others, mostly women and children, were too scared to move against the hostile aggressor, anticipating a larger horde to attack them. Sensing and empathetic to the fears of the congregation, the Worship service was hastily concluded.
The politics of conversion has inflamed the divide, and polarized communities across India. Delays in bringing the perpetrators of such attacks on Christian minorities, is continually encouraging an atmosphere of impunity in the country.
Pastor Gyan Chand has been facing consistent persecution from fanatics for a very long time.
“Six months ago, we had a mob of fanatics who gave false complaints and Sunday meeting was forcibly stopped by the Police”, said Pastor.
However, Pastor has declined to file a complaintwith the Police as he does not want enmity with anybody in the area and wants to forgive the persecutor, in Jesus’s name.
“Jesus has asked us to love our enemies and to do good to them. I believe God is in control of all situations. He is a righteous judge. I choose to forgive this man.”
Christians in Bihar have been facing such hostilesituations and Churches and House Churches, continue to be targeted most Sundays.
Church, pray for Pastor Gyan Chand, his family and the congregation, that they would respond in love to their persecutors.
Pray that the persecutors would be transformed from Saul to Paul, that they would come to know the love of Jesus Christ.
The incident was informed by Pastor Paul Abraham, in-charge of that area for GEMS.
Church, many servants of God work in hostile situations like this across India and it is the responsibility of every Church to pray for these servants of God and for the believers that they may stand strong in their faith and that none should be lost.
Let us be united in one Spirit and stand with the Persecuted Church in India, in an hour like this!
In 2018, Persecution Relief recorded 477 incidents of violence against Christians, of which 37 incidents in Bihar alone.
In January 2019, 45 incidents of persecution against Christians have already been recorded.
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