Fanatics stall House/Church construction work, Uttar Pradesh
Rev T.J.Samuel is the Mission Director of the AG Church in India. He recently spoke to Persecution Relief about an unfortunate incident that took place with a Pastor named Saju who is also a part of the AG group of churches in India.
Saju and Meera Nicholas are a young couple who have been married for the past 3 years. They serve the Lord in Nakur a town and a municipal board in Saharanpur, a district in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
Pastor Saju and his wife lead a Church at his rented residence that gathers more than 30 people to pray and worship every Sunday.
Pastor Saju met with Rev.Samuel at a Mission Conference, that he was attending in Bhopal. He had nervously told Rev. Samuel that the Police had come to his home and were impolite towards his wife. They began questioning her harshly about being involved in religious conversions and the possession of black money.
Meera who hails from Kerala, and is not well versed with the Hindi language, begun to feel intimidated by the presence and interrogation of the police. Completely disturbed, alone and out of place, she frantically asked Pastor Saju to rush back. He left Bhopal that very night.
On returning, Saju spoke to the police Sub Inspector, who directed him to meet the SHO(Station Head Officer) as a complaint had been made against him. Pastor Saju was then informed that he would need to take permission to continue construction work from the District Magistrate (DM). Until that was done, Pastor Saju would not be able to start the work. As of now, the work is come to a complete stand still.
2 years ago, Pastor Saju started constructing a building that could house his family and also be used as a meeting place for the Church. But a few religious fanatics got together and started turning people in the neighborhood against them. These men who were upto no good, complained to the police, accusing Pastor Saju of illegally building a church. They also claimed that Pastor Saju was receiving money from overseas to fund this project. Apart from making false allegations of the Pastor being involved in religious conversions they also criticized him of possessing black money.
Pastor Saju and his wife are constantly being pressurized by fanatics who warn them not to conduct prayer and worship services at their rented home. Even the neighbors and police are creating a difficult atmosphere for them to live in by unnecessarily falsely accusing the struggling couple. The staff at the Police station also taunt them by saying that it will be very tough for them to get the permission to restart the work.
Pastor Saju, is desperately trying to receive some positive feedback, even convinced them that he would only construct a house for his family but sadly he was turned down and and has been warned against having any more prayer meetings where ever he lives.
Persecution Relief PRO Minakshi Singh also spoke to the SHO and Sub Inspector regarding this matter, but they both stated that permission needed to be granted before they could restart the construction work.
The founder of Persecution Relief had an opportunity to speak to a very dejected and discouraged Meera, the wife of Pastor Saju. He encouraged and consoled her through fervent prayer.
This is a truly discouraging incident that raises questions like, ‘how safe are we to worship in our own homes?, why are the Police supporting false allegations against Christians?, why can’t a Christian freely practice his faith?’ At this point in time, there are many families like Pastor Saju’s who are being challenged daily. They are relying on God for Relief and Justice to come their way.
We Request all who have read this story, to deligently take a little time out and pray for our fellow believers who are boldly moving forward inspite of the odds that go against them.
Persecution Relief has recorded 330 incidents of hate crime against Christians in 2016, 440 incidents in 2017, 477 incidents in 2018 and till September 2019 we have recorded 349 incidents of Christian Persecution against Christians in India.
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