Local Political Leader stops church meeting on Private property, Karnataka.
Rev. Anil.K.Joy has been leading a Church in Periyapatna, a village in Mysore, located in the Indian state of Karnataka. He conducts prayer and worship meetings on his own property in a temporary shed. The Pastor also has a small home which is adjacent to the Shed.
A short while ago, Rev. Anil informed Persecution Relief that during a recent Sunday worship service, a local BJP leader named Vikram Raj came with a group of religious enthusiasts and asked Rev.Anil to stop the worship service saying that Christian worship is not allowed here. He then began taking a video, which Rev.Anil asked him to stop doing. Agitated, he called the Police.
Soon the ASI (Assistant Sub Inspector) arrived. “I was unable to identify him, but he began scolding me and forced me to stop immediately and accompany him to the police station” exclaimed the reverend. “ I am running the church on my own property and a few Christians are worshipping Jesus Christ together. What is your problem?” he replied? Due to extreme pressure from the police and politicians, the meeting was stopped. Soon after, Rev Anil went to the local police station. He met the SP (Supdt of Police) informed him about what had happened. Unfortunately, he told the Christians that the police cannot help them nor provide any security to them. He then told Rev.Anil that it would be wise to stop the church meetings for his own good.
“None of the officials from the local administration are helping us” said a dejected Reverend. He mentioned that a local MP from Mysore may be involved in this cunning attack, as he had also visited the land from Mysore which is around 80 kms away from Periyapatna. Sadly, the Church was unable to conduct a prayer service last Sunday.
Church, we request your prayers as the situation is bad in Karnataka. Worshiping on one’s own property, has also become an unlawful act in India even though the constitution permits the freedom to worship. Pray for Rev.Anil and the Church, that God would lead them through this challenging time. They would continue to trust in God for redemption. Pray for the BJP leader, Vikram Raj, the Mysore MP, the Hindu fundamentalists, and the uncooperative Police. As important leaders, they would work with integrity, justice and righteousness. Pray that God would also draw them to himself, touch their hearts and change them.
Psalm 140:12- ‘I know that the Lord will maintain The cause of the afflicted, and justice for the poor.’ Through Gods promises and personal experiences, we know that God will not fail us. As we reach out to God during humanly impossible situations, let us trust him to show us the way out. He will never let the righteous be put to shame.
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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