Church shut down, believers chased away, Uttar Pradesh
On Sunday, 28th October, just before the Worship Service could commence, Pastor Suraj Veer was summoned to the Police Station, on the basis of a complaint instigated by religious fanatics in the village, on false allegations of indulging inconversion activities.
Pastor Suraj started Masih Prathana Bhavan in 2005 at village Khanopor in Muzaffarnagar District of Uttar Pradesh. He constructed a Church building near his house, on his own personal property, and around 50 believers used to peacefully gather every Sunday for the Worship Service.
However, this Sunday, 28th October was different. Believers had congregated and Pastor was just about to commence the Sunday Worship, when he received a call from the Village Pradhan (Head), Mr. Chandar, demanding that he report to the Police Station immediately, as a complaint had been lodged against him, alleging that he was involved in conversion activities.
In spite of assuring him that he would go to the Police Station as soon as he is done with the Worship Service, the Village Head, demanded that he leave immediately. Left with no choice, Pastor left to the Mansurpur Police Station, while asking his friend, Pastor Kiran to continue with the Worship Service.
As he reached the Police Station, the top officer was extremely rude and arrogant, shouting and abusing Pastor and accusing him of converting innocent people by offering money as inducement. He then proceeded to ask his subordinates to put him in jail, using threats to intimidate, without a shred of evidence of investigation!
Picking up courage, Pastor vehemently denied the allegations and asked the Police Officer to send his people to investigate the charges, instead of blatantly levelling baseless allegations. The Police Officer was biased and appeared that he favored the complainant.
Pastor was eventually asked to leave and later, around 12 noon, around 6 Policemen including 2 women police, came to the place of worship They demanded that the worship service be stopped and chased out the believers who had congregated. Totally shocked by the turn of events, the believers were anxious and terrified by the unexpected proceedings. So, as they lingered outside the Church, concerned for Pastor’s well–being, the Policemen forcibly chased them all away.
“Don’t stand around here and never come back to this place again.
Slowly, the scared believers left the place.
The Policemen were at the Church until 2 pm when Bichu, the alleged mastermind of this attack and one who lodged the complaint, along with a group of religious fundamentalists joined them.
Speaking to Persecution Relief, Pastor added that the Police Officer had asked him to secure permission from the District Collector (DC). It is a well-known fact that when applications are sent to the DC, they are flatly denied permission.
Church, pray that Pastor Suraj Veer and the congregation will be able to gather at the same place, every Sunday, without any issues.
Uttar Pradesh, has been witnessing a huge spike in the number of persecution incidents reported since last few months. According to the data recorded in our “Intolerance Monitor”, we have recorded more than 60 cases over the past 10 months of 2018.
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.
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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