Mob alleges Church of forced conversions,Bihar.
Raging mob falsely alleges an India Missions Church of alluring villagers with money and indulging in forced religiousconversions.
Pastor Vinod serves with India Mission, a missionaryorganization that supports Churches across India. Persecution Relief received information from him about a recent attack onone of their Churches located in Bavpur Chowka which is nearthe DPS School in Baghalpur, a district in the Indian state ofBihar. The India Mission Church which was the latest target of a group of religious goons is lead by Pastor Vincent Cherian in Baghalpur.
Not long ago, while the Church was going through a worship service, a group of religious nuts disrespectfully paraded in. Least bothered about the sentiments of the Christians and showing no reverence within the sanctuary, they created a raucous. “What is going on in here? Are you converting people to Christianity? How much money are you alluring the people with?” they boisterously questioned the congregation. Vehemently criticising the Church of forceful conversion, the holy rollers threatened and promised to return with a mob. The bewildered Christians watched the goons leave but sustained their unity.
In a short while, the Church was soon face to face with a large group of raging people. With intentions to attack, the goons charged towards Pastor Vincent and another believer namedJethu. At that moment, showing complete presence of mind, a group of Christian women rushed towards the Pastor and Jethu and stood in front of them, making it difficult for the fanatics to harm them. Furthermore, the women fittingly replied to all the false allegations that the mob was making, concerning forceful religious conversions and alluring innocent people with money.The dumbfounded mob was left clueless after being confronted by the bold and courageous women. In a moment of rage and embarrassment, the mob forced all the members of the Churchto the Sarpanch’s (head of the village)house.
The members of the Church willingly accompanied the mob to the Sarpanch’s house. After hearing out the false and baseless accusations that the mob made, the Sarpanch gave the Christians an opportunity to speak. A few Christian women came forward and gracefully shared their life changing experiences after their encounter with Jesus Christ. In an effort to calm down the angry mob but also justify the Church, the Sarpanch requested Pr. Vincent and his family as well Mr.Jethu to refrain from coming to the village again, however, he granted permission to the Church to freely fellowship and conduct prayer meetings, promising no interference from any one belonging to the village.
Although saddened about his prohibition from the village and Church, Pastor Vincent is at peace as he believes that the Church is strong and rooted in the Word of God. He is also convinced that in the days ahead, they would be a self governing, self sustaining and self propagating Church. Since his time at this particular Church has come to an end, Pastor Vincent has expressed his desire to be lead by God to a new mission fieldand be instrumental in establishing new Churches there too.
Pray that the India Mission Church would continue to grow strong in the Lord. Pray that God would lead Pastor Vincent and his family to a new mission field and cause them to be fruitful, wherever they are planted. Most importantly, pray that the pro-Hindu villagers would cause no more trouble for the church and have a life changing encounter with Jesus Christ.
We believe that God is sovereign. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11. Although we may be faced with unanswered questions and increasing challenges within a religiously intolerant nation, God promises us with a hopeful future.
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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