Evangelist falsely accused of witchcraft, Odisha.
An Evangelist and his family were wrongly blamed for the death of a 20-year-old boy by his family and falsely accused of witchcraft by the local villagers.
Evangelist Dikisha lives in a small village in the Gajapali district of the Indian state of Odisha. He and his family faithfully serve the Lord in his village and the surrounding villages by proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. Around a fortnight ago, a local boy named Sushant who lives in the same village, tragically died of a kidney infection. He was taken to various hospitals and doctors to be treated, but none were able to cure the infection to which he ultimately succumbed. His last days were spent at home with his family.
Before Sushant passed away, he had a dream. In that dream he was persuaded to call Evangelist Dikisha to pray for him, by which he was convinced that he would be healed completely. When he shared the dream with his parents, they refused to co-operate and never took him to Evangelist Dikisha for prayer.
Sushant was just 20 years old when he passed away. His grief-stricken family were besides themselves after his untimely demise. However, instead of going ahead with the funeral formalities, they carried Sushant’s corpse and made their way to Evangelist Dikisha’s house. After placing the body inside the Evangelist’ home and said, “Sushant died because you performed some witchcraft over him, this is all your fault”.
They then narrated Sushant’s dream to him. Evangelist Dikishawas stunned to see and hear these things. When the family members began to walk away leaving the body behind, the Evangelist stopped them. Shockingly, they replied, “since you have killed him, you can now eat his flesh too!” Soon acomplaint was made to the village head about what had happened between the Evangelist and Sushant’s family. The village head then convinced Sushant’s family to take the dead body from the Evangelist’ home and perform the final rites. Evangelist Dikisha, who was still taken aback by what he had experienced, decided to make a complaint at the Adba police Station as well.
On 13/04/2020 the villagers called for a meeting. At that gathering they decided to consult a Tantrik (witch doctor) tocheck if their god was angry as Evangelist Dikisha’s father used to work in Assam and he may have brought a foreign god from there and returned to the village. As this story is being written, a few villagers have gone to consult the Tantrik.
Pastor Saji George called Persecution Relief from Kerala to inform us about this incident. Pastor Saji is an acquaintance of Eliya Mallick who is the son of Evangelist Dikisha. Eliya, a committed born-again Christian, worked as a labourer in Kerala for around 30 months and Pastor Saji describes him as an honest and hardworking boy. Eliya recently returned to his village.
In conversation with Persecution Relief, Eliya said, “I was very disappointed with the dangerous attitude of the fanatics. They could have done anything to us but we are still alive and safe because of God’s Grace!”
Do pray for Evangelist Dikisha and his family. May the joy of the Lord be their strength! They have stood strong in the face of persecution, pray that they would continue to walk courageously and bring light to many dark souls. Pray for Sushant’s family to experience comfort and peace as they come to terms with Sushant’s passing away. Pray for all the unbelieving villagers who have put their faith in other gods, that they may experience the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
Acts 19:28- Now when they heard this, they were full of wrath and cried out, saying, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” “Diana” was the Roman name for a Greek goddess. A great statue of Diana stood at the head of the harbour of Ephesus, and silver workers made a lot of money by selling small silver Idols of Diana. Paul told the people of Ephesus that anything made by human hands could not be a god, hence the silver smiths began to lose business and Paul got into trouble. Sometimes we have to be ready for trouble when we tell people the truth. This may even hurt some people, like it hurt the silver smiths. But we can never be free by living and benefitting from a lie. There is freedom for those who accept the truth of Jesus Christ.
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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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