Pastor Sister Baljit Kaur and congregation assaulted during Worship Service, Haryana
Pastor and the congregation were manhandled during Sunday Worship service, in a religiously-motivated attack in Barwala, Panchkula district of Haryana, involving a mob of 20 thugs.
A gang of “fanatics” attacked Pastor Sister Baljit Kaur and the mainly female congregation of around 100 people.
The attack in Barwala, Panchkula district of Haryana, on Sunday 24th February, is the latest in a series of incidents targeting Christians in India.
Speaking to Persecution Relief, Pastor Baljit Kaur, mentioned that she was basically a Sikh by birth, had committed to following Jesus Christ as her Lord and Saviour in 2005. Later in 2016, passionate to reach the lost, she started “Prabhu Marg Charitable Trust” and a small Church from her residence.
“The congregation had grown from a handful who used to gather at my home, to more than 100 believers. I then rented a showroom in Barwala, where we gathered every Sunday to Worship”.
On Sunday, 17th February, during the worship service, a mob of around 20 religious fanatics, trespassed into the Church and disrupted the service, shouting abuses, threats and anti-Christian slogans. The alleged assailants, accused Pastor Baljit of actively being involved in converting people to Christianity, a charge which she vehemently denied.
“The congregation was physically manhandled and threatened”.
Later, Pastor reported the matter at Barwala Police Station and briefed Senior officials of the discriminatory, racist and disturbing attack, after which, security detail was assured to the Church, every Sunday.
“The following Sunday, 24th February, Para-military and Police detail, were outside the Church, providing the promised security”.
“Worship service took place under police surveillance, without any issues or disturbance. However, just as the worship service got over, the Security detail left the venue”.
In a similar attack as the previous week, the mob of fanatics, descended upon the Church, in what is seen as a pre-planned attack. Several vehicles carrying the mob of fanatics arrived and the rowdy pack of hooligans, barged into the Church, shouting slogans and threats.
They threatened that nobody would be allowed to worship Jesus Christ in Barwana and if they dared to lodge a complaint or continue to worship, they would all be burned alive.
After this malicious and outrageous attack, Pastor Baljit approached the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Mr. Mukul Kumar and briefed him about the incident.
Contrary to the stance of the local Police, the DCP confirmed that if the Church was meeting inside a building, no permission was required, as opposed to if the meeting was being held outside – securing permission from the authorities would then be mandatory. The DCP also assured Pastor of his cooperation and support.
Separately, learning of the meeting that Pastor Baljit had with the DCP, the owner of the Showroom, on the instigation of the fanatics, began pressuring them, to vacate the premises.
“When we requested the Landlord to give us time until the 01st of March, he was adamant and unrelenting”.
In spite of the contract that the Church had with the Owner, in order to avoid a Police case and further unpleasantness, Pastor Baljit was forced out of the rented Church by the Landlord, on the instigation of the religious fanatics, in collusion with the local Police. They vacated the Church on the same day, after the 2nd attack.
The mastermind behind the whole incident is allegedly the local village head Manoj. In fact, when the 1st attack took place, the Police had called and warned Manoj, not to harass Pastor Baljit.
In spite of the Police warning, it is shocking how the alleged perpetrator orchestrated the attack for the 2nd time again, with impunity and lack of respect for authority.
It is a matter of grave concern that those responsible for this communal incident, continue to still be free.
The politics of conversion has inflamed the divide, and polarized communities across India. Delays in bringing the perpetrators of such attacks on Christian minorities, is continually encouraging an atmosphere of impunity in the country.
Apparently, Manoj approached Pastor after the attack, and sought her forgiveness and assured that he would not bother them in the future.
Speaking to Persecution Relief, the fire of the Holy Spirit in Pastor Baljit was still burning brightly, enthusiastic and passionately for the Lord.
“I have decided to follow Jesus and there is no turning back, no matter what the cost”.
“Over 100 Christians in my congregation are also strong in the Lord and fearless of any circumstance”.
Pastor has requested for prayers as they are on the lookout for a permanent place for Worship, as this is Church that is growing fast.
Church, pray for Haryana and the local leaders so that peace prevails in the city. Many servants of God work in hostile situations like this across India and it is the responsibility of every Church to pray for these servants of God and for the believers that they may stand strong in their faith and that none should be lost.
Let us be united in one Spirit and stand with the Persecuted Church in India, in an hour like this!
In 2018, Persecution Relief recorded 477 incidents of violence against Christians, of which 8 incidents were from the state of Haryana.
In January 2019, 45 incidents of persecution against Christians have already been recorded.
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