Deceased Christian forcibly cremated by religious fanatics, Odisha
Babulal in his vandalized house.
Rev. Jakub Kumar, Coordinator, Mission India, informed us about his Associate Pastor being beaten up.
Pastor Babulal Tandi is affiliated with ‘Mission India, and has been serving at the Bhanpur Village, Narla Block, Kalahandi, Odisha, for the past 15 years. This House Church, has the been the venue for Sunday Worship service, where around 2 dozen believers gather every Sunday.
On Friday, 10th May, one of the believers of the Church, Bro. Butti Bihari, around 70 years of age, who had been ailing for the past several months, passed away. While grieving for their loss, the immediate kin – his two sons, began to make arrangements for the final burial service.
Against the father’s final wishes, son Anant, who is not a Christian, however, refused to allow his father’s body to be buried as per Christian rites, He garnered support from the local villagers and religious fanatics, bringing a communal colour to the incident.His brothers and other deceased’s family members, tried to make him understand he should fulfill the explicit and final desire of deceased father Bihari. They explained to him that he was a ‘born again believer’ and that as a Christian, he should not be cremated but buried as per a Christian rite.
But son Anant, was adamant that his father would only be cremated and refused to even consider burying the body. Ascribing blame to Pastor Babulal Tandi for the situation, they cornered him, brutally beating him up. By the grace of God, Pastor managed to escape from there and reached home.
Later, the villagers, forcibly took Bro. Bihari’s body and cremated it. Not satisfied, they decided to go to Pastor Babulal’s house and further harass him.
Shouting anti-Christian slogans, threats and abuses, they demanded that he come out of the house. However, Pastor and his family – wife and 2 children – one boy of 17 years and a girl of 12 years, fearing further altercation & escalation of the situation, refused to come out of house. Undeterred, the rowdy and violent mob, vandalized his house and demolished a portion of the kitchen wall.
When our Founder spoke to Pastor Babulal, he sounded extremely distressed and terrified but through prayer and counsel, his spirit was lifted up through the word of God.
Pastor added that on the 5th of April, a few people committed their lives to following Jesus Christ. Since that day, he claims that the fanatics had been targeting him.
On Sunday, 12th May, Pastor and his family gathered in their home and prayed instead of the regular Worship Service.
Pastor Babulal has asked for our prayers for the safety of his family and church members. He has asked that we remember the persecutors in our prayers too.
Rev. P.D. Joseph, Mission India, expressed concern over the turn of events.
Persecution Relief has reported similar incidents where first-generation Christians are denied a Christian burial. In most cases, the villagers or members of the kin, conspire and hijack the deceased body and cremate it, to prevent a Christian burial.
Odisha has recorded 3 incidents of hate-crimes against Christians in 2019. Odisha ranked as the 6th most hostile state in 2018 with 20 hate-crimes.
Across the country in India, the doors of a multitude of Churches have been sealed and scores arrested on false charges of indulging in conversion activities.
We have recorded 477 Hate crime cases against Christians in 2018 and 157 cases till April 2019.
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