Pastor Falsely Accused Of Forced Conversion, Chhattisgarh
*Pastor Vijay called the Persecution Relief Toll Free No: 1800-1234-461 to alert us about this incident. “A woman had complained to the Police that *Pastor Naresh had approached her and her family with a group of goons and threatened tobeat them up if she and her family did not convert to Christianity” he added.
A false and fabricated case of forced conversion was filedagainst Pastor Naresh by a believer who, for more than 7 years used to attend the Church that he leads.
The complaint stated that the Pastor was not only trying to bribe the woman and her family to convert to Christianity but also visited her home with ‘gundas’(goons) to threaten them.
Speaking to Persecution Relief on 23/06/2020, Pastor Nareshsaid he received a call from the Ratanpur Police Station, asking him to come there. Surprised at the sudden call, PastorNaresh requested Pastor Vijay to accompany him to the Police station. “When we went to the Police Station, we were shocked to learn that an application of forced conversion had been filed by the woman against the Pastor” he said.
Pastor Vijay said “My colleague is innocent”. He told Persecution Relief that for many years, this woman and her family were a part of the church which the Pastor leads.
Pastor Naresh narrated the entire story and said, “A while back they were going through a financial difficulty and it was during that time that I had loaned them some money.”
He further added that the application states that he used to harass the woman and her family, when in reality, he had only occasionally inquired them about his money whenever he passed by their home, since he stopped seeing them at church gatherings. “The family eventually stopped attending the church meetings, so when I inquired about the repayment of the loan, they conveniently ignored me ” said Pastor Naresh.
The police are currently investigating the matter. However, the allegation that the woman and her family have made is a very serious one.
The accusation appears invented as firstly, the woman and her family left the church soon after the loan was given to them, making their motives and faithfulness to the Christian faith questionable.
Secondly, the Pastor was surprised to receive a call from the Police and got to know about the application only after he visited the Police Station, having absolutely no clue about it.
Thirdly, the route taken by the woman and her family seems to be a cunning way of escaping the repayment of the loan.
The perpetrators falsely accuse Christians of forcing other religions to change their faith. This is also a common excuse for harassing and arresting Christians.
Before going to the Police station on 24/06/2020, Pastor Naresh and Pastor Vijay spoke to us for counsel. Persecution Relief prayed with them and encouraged them about God being in control, that none of the plans of the enemy will ever succeed against Gods people.
They told us that the Police had called both parties on 23/06/2020 but they didn’t turn up. They were then called again on the 24/06/2020. After the meeting at the police station, the Pastor informed Persecution Relief that both parties settled and compromised. They believe it is truly the hand of God and a wonderful miracle.
Do remember Pastor Naresh and his family in prayer. Pray for the family who went against the Pastor that they may know the love of Christ. Pray that their relationship with God would be restored and they would return to him.
He is a God of justice and His word will be the very last. Never will He allow His children to be put to shame.
In the 1st Quarter of 2020, we recorded 187 cases. Between 1st Quarter of 2016 to 1st Quarter of 2020, there has been a rise of 128.04 % 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. From January 2016 to March 2020, Persecution Relief has recorded 1961 cases of Hate crimes against Christians in India.
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has downgraded India to the lowest ranking, ‘Countries of Particular Concern’(CPC) In its 2020 report. 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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