Christians harassed over burial, Chhattisgarh
Bro. Halal Ram Sahu and family are residents of Sirsida village in Kanker district of Chhattisgarh. Originally from the Sahu Samaj community, Bro. Halal and his family became followers of Jesus Christ. However, for the past 4 years, they have been socially boycotted and discriminated by the Sahu Samaj residents.
Sahu” is known as the Jatt caste and also Teli caste of India, known as Sahu Vaishyas. Teli (तेली) is a business caste among Hindus. They bear different surnames in different regions and states of India, Sahu Samaj are basically “businessman” or “moneylenders” in India.
Bro. Halal’s oldest son, Bro. Manish Kumar Sahu got married. Several Christians in the area, gathered for a special thanksgiving prayer meeting on Sunday. After the meeting, as everybody dispersed, Bro. Halal and his wife, Sis. Sushila Sahu left on their motor bike.
On the way, they met another believer lady and stopped to give her a ride since it was for a short distance. Driving with luggage and “triples”, proved dangerous as Sis. Sushila slipped and fell off the motorbike, sustainingsevere head injuries. She was rushed to the hospital were she passed away.
The grieving family of Bro. Halal were making preparationsfor her burial. As the news of her death spread, the local Sahu community, descended on the residence of Bro. Halal. They surrounded the house and demanded that the last rites being administered, should be according to the Hindu rites. The insisted that Bro. Halal and his son Manish, forsake Jesus Christ and come back to the Sahu community.
In spite of the massive pressure from the community, they were adamant that they will not recant Jesus Christ. They were also very determined and forthright that would not cremate their mother’s body but would perform the final rites based on Bible, as per the deceased mother’s last wish.
Once the local religious fanatics got wind of this news, a mob of over 100’s, joined the Sahu community, protesting that they would not allow the burial in the village, if not done as per Hindu rituals. In spite of the family proposingto bury Sis. Sushila in the family property, the suggestion was vehemently opposed by the Sahu Samaj District President Gauri Shankar Sahu.
With no recourse, the family took Sis. Sushila’s body, directly from the postmortem at the Hospital, to the Police Station in Charama. Police Officer Mr. Brijesh Kumar made every attempt to mediate a compromise between with the villagers and with Bro. Halal and family.
Although the Leader of Sahu Samaj, Mr. Shankar, threatening to self -immolate if the body was buried in the village, Bro. Halal was equally unflinching and would not agree to a cremation of his wife’s body. Ultimately the body was taken to a public cemetery and the burial service was done by Pastor Arvind, to who’s Church, Bro. Halal’s family belongs.
Speaking to Persecution Relief, Pastor Arvind narrated the aftermath of the burial service.
As they returned home after an eventful day, the fanatic groups were relentless and unforgiving. They continued to conspire and plot, on how they can make the “Christians” forsake Jesus Christ and join back Sahu Samaj.
Apparently, the ruthless mob reached Bro. Sewa Ram, a Christians house, and forced him to forsake Jesus Christ or leave the village that night. They strong-armed and terrified him with death to his whole family, and pressured him into signing a document, declaring that he would no longer follow Jesus Chri
Next, the mob paid a visit to Suresh Sahu. Although he is not a follower of Jesus Christ, his wife, Sis. Pramila is a strong believer. The mob strong-armed Bro. Sahu’s family to sign the document, renouncing their faith in Jesus Christ. However, Sis. Pramila stood her ground. While every family member was willing, only Sis. Pramila stood strong in her resolve. Her father in-law, embarrassed and annoyed that his daughter in law was conspicuous in her rebellion, not complying with commands of her husband, took away the piece of land that Sis. Pramila was farming and gave it to his own daughter instead.
When your family misunderstands or rejects you, it is often hardest to bear. After all, we long for the love of those who have nurtured us. To have that love relationship broken, is one of the greatest traumas a human being can face.
Jesus warned us about this in chilling language as He Himself experienced this from his own family.
“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.’ – Matthew 10:37-39 New King James Version (NKJV)
As in Christ’s own words, we must make up our minds on who is more important and not hold on to fleshly ties above our spiritual parentage.
The Persecuted Christians from this village, met with theChristian Forum of Chhattisgarh and briefed the local Christian Leaders. Bro. Pannalal spoke to Police Officials and assisted the group.
Church, praise God for Sis. Pramila, who has endured persecution for her faith.
Pray that her faith will be unshakable and steadfast. Pray that God will make her “light shine out of darkness,” to reflect the glory of the living God.
Pray for Bro. Halal and his son Manish, for Godly comfort as they grieve the loss of their mother.
Pray for the persecuted Christians of the Sirsida village, Pray for Bro. Seva Ram’s family, Pray for the all persecutors of Christians.
REMEMBER CHHATTISGARH IN YOUR PRAYERS.
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