Christian kidnapped while others beaten up by fanatics, Chhattisgarh.
A Christian family comprising of an aged mother and 3 young sons were severely beaten while a young couple was assaulted, of which the husband was later kidnapped at night by religious fanatics.
Pastor Sushil Sangham ministers at a village in Dantewada, adistrict in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh. He leads a church that regularly gathers many believers who live in and around that area to pray and worship together. Around 30kms away from where the church meets is a village in which 3 Christian families live. They are also a part of the Church that Pastor Sushil leads.
Persecution Relief received a frantic call at midnight on the 31/01/2020 from Pastor Sushil Sangham. He told us that he had received a message earlier that evening informing him that Raju Podiyami, another Christian from that village was mercilessly beaten up along with his wife and then kidnapped by local religious fanatics soon after. This village is located in a Maoist area; hence the police were unable to respond during the night. The whereabouts of Raju Podiyami are unknown.
Ando, Manu and Santu, three brothers and their aged mother, who also live in the same village were severely beaten up by the local fanatics on 30/01/2020. The local fanatics were forcing the families to participate in a Ghar Wapsi ceremony. (Turning back to Hindu faith after being converted to Christianity). That was not all, the fanatics also forced them to cover all the expenses of ritual, which was a fairly large amount. When the familyrefused, they were caught and physically assaulted. The fanaticsleft them beaten and bruised and threatened come back the next day to make sure that they go through with the ceremony. They are currently recovering at a local hospital.
At a time when the world is waging war against a pandemic and the government has ordered the entire country of India to be under lock down, Christian persecution still continues. Even thought the Prime Minister has requested every citizen to stay indoors for the safety of ourselves and the country, religious goons are still driven by their zeal to ‘saffronize’ the Indian populous. Such irresponsible actions should not be tolerated. These religious fanatics should be taken to task and dealt with in a befitting way. We request the Government of India and concerned authorities to take action and execute justice for the sake of peace and safety for every citizen of India.
Urging the church in India to unite in prayer for the safe return of Raju Podiyami. Pray that his family would experience God’s peace and comfort during this difficult time. Pray for Ando, Manu, Santu and their elderly mother who were beaten up, that they may recover well and stand strong in their faith and not forsake Jesus even in the face of death. Pray for that the religious fanatics would have a life transforming encounter with Jesus Christ and turn from their wicked ways. That God would cause them to return Raju Podiyami without him being hurt.
I have done what is righteous and just; do not leave me to my oppressors. Ensure your servant’s well-being; let not the arrogant oppress me. Psalm 119:121,122. Do we have the faith in God to believe that we are his righteous children? When we are confident of our righteousness through him, we are able to trust in his love, care and protection over us.
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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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