Brethren Prayer meeting disrupted, Evangelists thrashed in Khagaria, Bihar
Religious fundamentalists barged into a Prayer Meeting and ordered the Christians to stop their prayers. The incident took place at Sonbarsa, a small Village in Chautham Block in Khagaria District of Bihar State, India.
At the request of Bro. Prem Kumar, the Brethren Church had started a prayer meeting at his residence, every Monday morning. It was just over a month that this meeting had started where around 30 persons, living in and around the area, would gather. The meeting was a blessing as families could come together and pray.
It was reported that on Monday, 15th October, around 12 noon, a mob of more than 50 youths barged into the prayer meeting at the house-church, verbally abused the Evangelists and the congregation, urging them to stop their meeting or face dire consequences.
The House Owner allegedly tried to calm the extremists saying that the Christians were only conducting their prayer service and were not involved in any illegal activity. In spite of his pleas, the mob was unrelenting. Sensing that the situation could get out of hand, the house owner locked the door of the house from the inside.
Enraged by this, the mob tried to break open the door. Eventually, fearing a worse outcome, the house owner opened the door. The mob of fanatics got into the house, dragged out the Evangelists Nitish, Bro. Ajeet, Bro. Deepul and Bro. Prem, the house owner’s son, and mercilessly beat them all with lathis, slippers, kicking, punching and slapping them.
The angry mob dragged the Evangelists to the local Durga temple with the intention of forcing the Christians to perform Hindu rituals and eat the ‘prasadam” (food offered to the idols). As they reached the temple, since it was occupied and ‘puja’ in progress, they were forced to wait.
During this time, an elderly man along with a few women, came as a savior and rescued them from the temple ordeal. The fanatics then took the Evangelists back to Bro. Prem’s house and locked them up in a room.
A Television Crew were called to cover the whole incident, who showed only one side of the story, portraying Christians in a negative manner, injecting religious prejudice and intolerance into the community. They even called they anti-nationals.
The police reached the spot and escorted the Evangelists to the Chautham Police Station. They were detained for over 6 hours at the Police Station.
Evangelist Samson called Persecution Relief and briefed about the whole incident. By speaking to the SP, Meenu Kumari who was very supportive, Persecution Relief Team were able to assist secure their release.
Bro. Ajeet, a B.Th. graduate, speaking to Persecution Relief after his release, proudly stated that he and his team mates were indeed privileged to be persecuted for the name of Jesus Christ.
Several house churches have been prevented from holding prayer gatherings, which is part of an ever-widening nationwide operation targeting unofficial “house churches” across India. Anti-Conversion Laws are often used by religious fundamentalists and Police as ammunition to launch criminal complaints against Christian leaders. The Christian community in India continue to suffer for the sake of their service and witness to Jesus Christ.
Freedom of religion in India is a fundamental right guaranteed by Article 25-28 of the Constitution of India. Every citizen of India has a right to practice and promote their religion peacefully.
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