Fanatics publish fake news to persecute Christian, Odisha.
Hindu Fanatics disrupt house Church, insult Church leader, take his picture and print it in a local news paper, accusing him of religious conversion.
Mayurbhanj district is one of the 30 districts in Odisha, an state in eastern India. Salit Barik serves with The Good Shepherd Ministries International and leads a house church at a village which is a part of the Mayurbhanj district. The Church gathers at the residence of Raimoni, a Christian from the village. Around 22 people regularly attend the Sunday Worship service.
On Sunday 02/02/2020, the prayer meeting commenced as usual. But as the Christians began to pray and worship, they were suddenly disturbed by a group of Hindu fanatics. The agitated group of fanatics forced their way into the house and started causing chaos. They screamed and shouted, and verbally abused the Christians present. “They threatened me and warned me not to come to that place again.” Said Salit in conversation with Persecution Relief. “They insulted me and accused me of diverting the minds of ignorant and simple people by using psychological tricks and cunningly converting them from Hinduism to Christianity by bribing them with money.”
The fanatics did not allow the Christians to leave and called the Police. Surprisingly, even the Police discouraged Salit about following Christianity and warned him not to conduct any more prayer meetings in that locality again. The Police, who should have questioned the violent intrusion of the Hindu fanatics into a private residence, ridiculed the peace loving Christians instead.
The relentless fanatics then caught a hold of Salit and clicked pictures of him. The following day, they published it in the localnews paper. The news paper displayed Salits picture and the following message was mentioned besides it : ‘This man isconverting people in the name of prayer.’
Scores of Christians across our country are falsely accused and even imprisoned with false charges deliberately made against them-an attempt by Religious fundamentalists to stop the spread of Christianity and propagate the Idea of Hinduism being the true identity of a real Indian.
Pray that Salit would experience God’s comfort during this hurtful experience. Pray that his faith would only grow stronger in the Lord and he would persevere even in the face of immense persecution. Pray that the Persecutors would have a change of heart, that God would have mercy on them and meet with them in a mighty way.
‘The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners’-Isaiah 61:1
Jesus not only binds up the broken-hearted but He also came to “proclaim freedom for the captives.” Jesus heals hurting hearts, and He sets captives free. It is His mission.
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.
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