Pastor imprisoned for praying in Church, Uttar Pradesh
Update : Pastor Neeraj has been released this evening.
Mainpuri district of Uttar Pradesh, is a hard terrain for Evangelism. Persecution Relief has recorded several incidents of persecution against Christians who were beaten and chased out of the District.
Hence, during the fasting and prayerful season of the ‘Holy Week’ and Christmas, which involves larger participation of Christians, there are graver threats, widespread and violent targeting of Christians. Most Churches and Christians across Uttar Pradesh worship under apprehension. The fear of fringe groups acting upon their threats kept Christians on guard in the state.
Pastor Neeraj Kumar, a passionate follower of Jesus Christ, started ministry at various villages under Mainpuri district. He is affiliated with “Gilead Gospel Mission” organisation, which works in Uttar Pradesh and in the Punjab area.
On Sunday, 08th April, around 10 Christians had gathered at Gilead Gospel Mission. At around 10.30 am, a few Policemen, trespassed into the Church and arrested Pastor Neeraj Kumar, alleging that he was involved in conversion activities. Pastor was taken to New Kotwali Police Station and later in the evening, booked under IPC 151 and sent to jail.
Section 151 in The Indian Penal Code
151. Knowingly joining or continuing in assembly of five or more persons after it has been commanded to disperse. —Whoever knowingly joins or continues in any assembly of five or more persons likely to cause a disturbance of the public peace, after such assembly has been lawfully commanded to disperse, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.
Pastor Philip John from Agra informed Persecution Relief about the incident and the same was communicated to the local leaders in Uttar Pradesh. However, by the time Pastor Dheenanath & Pr Patsy, Christian Leaders in the area, spoke to the Addl. SP, the FIR against Pastor has already been filed.
It is alleged that the Police are always under tremendous pressure from the religious fanatics to file the FIR.
Speaking to Persecution Relief, Pastor Saji Chacko, Founder Gilead Gospel Mission had all praise for Pastor Neeraj Kumar. He claimed that Pastor was a passionate and committed worker in that area. In fact, his family were away to their home town during the incident. Pastor was working alone and excepting for Pastor Sanjay and Persecution Relief, there was no one else to support him at the time of arrest.
Persecution Relief would like to thank Bro. Rajeev Lal, a businessman, who came forward to help the Pastor, and is making all efforts to secure bail for Pastor Neeraj.
Uttar Pradesh has been one of the most hostile states for Christians, based on our records. More than a dozen incidents have been recorded over the past few months.
We request the Church to fervently pray for the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his cabinet, that Lord may speak to him.
Please also pray for God’s favour that Pastor Neeraj Kumar would be released today as the bail application is scheduled to be heard in court today (09th April 2018).
“Woe to those who decree unrighteous decrees, Woe write misfortune, which they have prescribed, to rob the needy of justice, and to take what is right from the poor of My people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless. – Isaiah 10:1-2
2018 Persecution Relief News
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