“Indian Evangelical Team” (IET) Bible College targeted, Madhya Pradesh
“Indian Evangelical Team College” (IET) in Pipariya, Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh, one of the prestigious institutes in the city, was hosting their 48th Bible College Graduation ceremony, on Saturday, 13th April, 2019.
Hectic preparations for the graduation ceremony were underway at the College, for the culmination of a 3-year learning for 26 students, who earnedtheir coveted degree, which was a major accomplishment. Graduates from the previous year, as well as current graduates, were invited to participate in this ceremony; parents and close relatives had travelled from all across India, to share and celebrate the joyous moment of their children.
On Friday, 12th April, at around 6 pm, the Sub Judicial Magistrate (SDM), the Town Inspector (TI) Mr. Satish and a mob of right-wing religious protestors, on motor bikes, rode into the College Campus. They protested and barged into the Principal’s office, questioning and disruptingproceedings and preparations for the ceremony.
With no sense of decorum or propriety for the significance of the event that was being organised, they arbitrarily questioned the stunned students, and parents. They accused the organisation of indulging in conversion activities, the common rhetoric used by the fanatics to attack innocent Christians.
Later the same evening, around 8 pm, the SDM and TI arrived again, and started questioningCollege authorities. In what is seen as an attempt to harass and inconvenience the College authorities, they demanded that they be provided with a list of all people, in the Campus, by 10.00 am the following day.
Speaking to Persecution Relief, the Principal of the College, Dr. Sam George, mentioned that it was impractical to make a list at such short notice, on the eve of the graduation ceremony.
“The SDM was very cooperative but TI was shouting and raising his voice, when we asked him why is it that we cannot hold a spiritual meeting in our private campuses”.
Bishop Sam Varghese from Trivandrum, informed Persecution Relief of the developments. Bro. Shibu Thomas, promptly spoke to the Superintendent of Police (SP), Hoshangabad, and informed him about the gravity of the incident, who assured prompt action.
Later, the following day, speaking to Persecution Relief, Rev. Shaji Varghese, General Secretary/ Vice President (IET) expressed gratitude.
“The graduation service went ahead peacefully, without any problems. I am really grateful to all the prayers that were lifted up at a time like time”.
Donning Caps and Gowns, students graduating from the College, were jubilant, rejoiced and gave thanks to God while receiving their Degree certificates.
Rev. Shaji Varghese added that, he was saddened about the turn of events. He expressed deep concern that a few months ago, his effigy was burned by a mob of fanatics, who demanded his arrest.
“It is only by the grace and mercy of God that nothing untoward has happened to me”.
Pray that IET College will continue to produce valiant Christians, who will fearlessly proclaim the name of Jesus Christ, for His glory and honour.
Alongside, there was a Training Program for Pastors being held, for Pastors across India, at the College Campus, which is a routine practice. Close to 60 Pastors were attending this Program.
Christians across India, have been facing a rising wave of violence in the past few years. Many attacks are believed to be politically motivated, in an effort to polarize the community, especially in the run up to the elections in April 2019.
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.
In the first quarter of 2019, 130 incidents of persecution have been recorded by us. 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.
Church, continue to fast and pray for Madhya Pradesh and for India.
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