Jesus film show raided by religious fanatics, Pastor attacked, Bihar
A Pastor working in a remote village of Bihar, was attacked by angry villagers while showing the JESUS film.
Pastor Sojan was visiting different villages, during the Christmas Season and was showing them the Jesus film, which people appeared to be receptive to.
On the 8th of December, accompanied by a few other Pastors and believers, the team travelling in an Eco Van, reached village Ghoswari, in Ghoswari Panchayat, Bakhtiyarpur Block, around 60 kms from Patna city.
After praise, worship and prayer, for about ½ hour, they set up the equipment at the venue, completing preparations for the screening of the film.
Speaking to Persecution Relief, local Pastor Sohan from Patna described the attack.
“Just as we were about to start the film show, around 35-40 men attacked us, shouting slogans ‘bharat mata ki jai’ and screaming abuses at the terrified audience. The local villagers and the fanatics were angered that we were showing the JESUS film.
“They switched off the Projector cutting off the power supply and destroyed the Laptop, throwing it to the ground”, said Pastor Sohan.
In spite of trying to reason with them and explain that the screening of the film was part of the Christmas program, and no conversion was taking place, they were not prepared to listen.
They vehemently stated, “This is Hindustan and NO FOREIGN GODS are allowed here”.
One of the Pastors explained that it was part of the Christmas program and no conversion was happening.
Another Bro. Vinod Kumar, spoke out against the fanatics.
“Who are you to stop the film? We will continue showing it”. But he was pacified by his son and wife and taken home.
Sensing that the situation could escalate, the team began to pack their belongings and load it back into the Eco Van. However, the fanatics were relentless and soon, many more fanatics joined and demanded that all the Christians chant Vande Mataram. Eventually the fanatics dispersed the team and Pastor, left the location around 10.30 pm, and returned to Patna.
Since Bro. Vinod Kumar was depressed about the attack, his wife had requested Pastor Sojan to visit and encourage him. Sunday Worship Service and weekly meetings are held every week at the residence of Bro. Vinod for the past 3 years. Pastor Sojan decided to join the Sunday worship service the following day.
Even though Pastor has this unpleasant encounter on Saturday, he was still willing to visit Bro. Vinod’s residence, in spite of knowing the risks, to encourage him. How many of us would stick our necks out in similar situations? Fear did not hold him back but he went ahead trusting God, willing to go the extra mile.
Pastor took a train, then an auto and had to walk a short distance, to reach Bro. Vinod’s home. As he was walking through the village Ghoswari, people who had attacked the screening of the Jesus film, recognized him from the previous night and began following him. Sensing danger, Pastor changed the route, evading the fanatics and finally reached Bro. Vinod’s house.
Reaching Bro. Vinod’s house, around 10.30 am, Pastor found a huge crowd gathered outside his house. Bro. Vinod had stepped out for an errand. Not wanting to put the family in any danger, he asked Sister to send the believers back home and left the residence. Sister asked Pastor to move to another believer’s house close by, but Pastor decided to walk back.
As he was walking back, a mob of around 25 youths followed him by foot and 2 in motorcycles. After a short distance, they began questioning him, asking why he was visiting their village. Finally, they brutally beat and abused him, recording this entire episode on video.
Strangely, while he was being beaten, an elderly man passing by, enquired about what was going on. The fanatics told him that he was indulging in conversion activities while Pastor told him that he was a social service worker and wanted to help reform and help people from addictions and make this village a better place. The elderly man asked them to let me go. Hoping to find respite from further physical assaults, Pastor got up and began to walk away.
However, the mob were relentless. The pursued him and while two men held his hands, the other goons kicked him on his back, punched him on his stomach and rained his body with blows. Eventually, the leader of the mob made him sit near a Telephone Tower and called the Police to report the incident.
While waiting for the Police to arrive, a young man, a believer, who was passing by, recognized Pastor and greeted him. The mob caught hold of him too and began to question him. Pastor kept cautioning the young man to leave and not speak but the mob threatened and terrified him, to falsely incriminate the Pastor, forcing him to say that Pastor had bribed him Rs. 500/-, to convert to Christianity.
The Police arrived just in time and took over the situation. The fanatics produced the boy in front of the Police and forced him to testify that Pastor had bribed him with Rs. 500/- to convert to Christianity. The terrified boy told the Police as he had been tutored by the fanatics. However, the Police were able to identify that the youth was being coerced and did not believe the false allegations levelled by the fanatics against the Pastor or the young boy. They rescued Pastor and took him to Bakhtiyarpur Police station.
When Persecution Relief learned of this incident, through the local Pastor Jean, the Team immediately contacted the SHO Mr Khan and appraised him about the incident. He described that the situation could have taken a turn for the worse and turned to a ‘mob-lynching’ type situation, but for the timely intervention of the Police. Pastor was taken to the Police Station in the afternoon, and released around 6.00 pm in the evening.
The SHO, took Pastor Sojan in his vehicle, to the incident spot to verify details and eventually dropped him off at home.
Persecution Relief Team also spoke with the Superintendent of Police (SP) Rural, Mr. Ananth Kumar, who said that he was aware of the incident and would ensure that no false charges are levelled against the Pastor. On the following day, Pastor Sohan visited SP Ananth Kumar at his office to express his gratitude for the timely support and the justice rendered.
Church, pray that persecution would not deter missionaries and be a hindrance to the propagation of the Gospel.
Pray that God would give men of God, a servant’s heart, willing to serve sacrificially.
Pray for God’s supernatural protection of all Pastors and Missionaries, working in different difficult parts of India.
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