PASTOR’S SON UNJUSTLY ARRESTED AFTER FALSE COMPLAINT BY FANATICS, UTTAR PRADESH.
Have you ever been harassed and abused on account of your religious beliefs? Most of us reading this story may have never encountered religious persecution and enjoy the convenience of praying within the comfort and safety of our homes without any fear of being pestered.
Sadly, times are rapidly changing, especially for the religious minorities in India. The nonviolent Christian community has suddenly become the target of radical religious bigots who are often behind fierce hate crimes which are committed against Christians, sometimes even involving rape and murder.
Persecution Relief has been receiving regular reports of religious fanatics disturbing and restricting Christians activities, be it a family prayer at home or a handful of Christians following Government norms and praying at a Church building.
Pr. Mohan reported a similar case of Christian persecution that took place at a village in Uttar Pradesh on the 23rd of August 2020. His acquaintance, Pr. Sugreev Prasad and a few other believers were praying inside the Church building when they were interrupted by a sudden commotion happening outside.
“When the four of us went out, there was a group of young boys hurling insults and cursing us. I approached them and asked them why they were so angry. They were a rowdy lot, refusing to listen” said Pr. Sugreev.
Explaining the chaos that the troublemakers were creating, Pr. Sugreev told Persecution Relief that his young family that lives on the first floor of the Church building, were worried and came out. “It was past 7pm in the evening and I did not want the situation to get worse, so I somehow managed to convince the gang to meet and talk with us the next morning” said the Pastor.
Pr. Sugreev told Persecution Relief that he called the Pradhan (village head man) and another village elder to be a part of the meeting with the young gang as it concerned the other Christians who lived in that village as well.
“I asked them if we were doing anything wrong or against the law. After all, I had erected the Church building on my own property” said the Pastor who also mentioned that even the families who lived around the Church premises never had issues with them.
“The boys agreed to stop harassing us and left, only to return a while later with more young men. The boisterous gang created a huge racket and used foul language, attempting to defame us in our own village. They had tools in their hands and threatened to break the Church building” said the Pastor.
Pr. Sugreev, his wife, 2 sons, 2 daughters and a couple of Christians who were praying inside the Church building stood their ground in front of the fanatics. “We refused to fall into an argument with them. Trusting God, we held our peace” said Pr. Sunil.
Speaking to Persecution Relief, Pr. Sugreev said that a large crowd had gathered to see what was going on. Because the unruly boys were the only ones creating a commotion, they were ultimately left with no choice but to stop and leave.
“The last time we faced religious persecution was back in 2007, since then all has been well. However, I believe that these boys have been instigated by fanatics as they have never bothered us before and I have often seen them hanging around the neighborhood” said the Pastor.
For the safety of the Church and family, Pr. Sugreev Prasad informed the Police about what had happened. Responding to his application, the Police went to Pr. Sugreev’s home and asked the Pastor to direct them to the homes of the miscreants.
Pr. Sugreev sent his son Pawan along with the police. When the goons seen the police and Pawan, they began cook up false accusations against the Pastor and his family saying that they were forcefully converting people to Christianity.
The police immediately switched sides after hearing the fanatics and caught hold of the Pastor’s young son-Pawan, verbally abused him, and took him to the police station. The police refused to release the 19 year old after being instigated by the fanatics.
Pr. Sugreev and his family went through a challenging time while Pawan was put behind bars. However, he gave his son a bible to read and hold on to, encouraging him to trust God. Young Pawan refused to eat any food during his time in prisonbut kept himself busy, reading the Bible his father had handed him.
Persecution Relief advocated the release of Pawan and spoke to the concerned authorities during this time. Thousands of Christians fervently prayed for Pawan’s release responding to Persecution Relief’s prompt updates.. After spending 2 days and one night, locked up at the Police Station, Pawan was finally released. Thanks be to God, who keeps His Promises and never abandons us.
Around 1500 people live in this village, of which, over 200 of them are Christians. Pastor Sugreev talks of his Church as a strong Bible believing Church whose numbers are daily growing. As he awaits his sons release, he believes that this may be a major reason behind this conspiracy.
Pray that this situation would only propel Pawan into a deeper relationship with God.
Pray that Pastor Sugreev and his Church would not be discouraged by this attack but rather be fortified and stand firm in their Christian faith.
Pray that the Church would trust in God’s protection over them. That they may be a blessing within their community and share the love of Jesus Christ with all those who have never experienced it before.
Pray for the gang of young men to refuse to do what is wrong and in stead be moved by the example of peace that Pr. Sugreevand his Church have set before them. Pray that they may believe in the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
Opposition in any form can ignite anger and cause us to retaliate in an un-Christ like fashion. Instead of trying to make the situation better, we often aggravate it when we fight back without heavenly wisdom. The word of God says, ‘A soft and gentle and thoughtful answer turns away wrath, but harsh and painful and careless words stir up anger. Proverbs 15:1. Be it with family, friends or ultimately even our persecutors, as Christians, may we always be mindful of our words and reactions.
In the 1st Half of 2020, Persecution Relief recorded 293 cases of Christian Persecution. In 2019 alone, we recorded the maximum number of 527 cases compared to 447 cases in 2018, 440 in 2017 and 330 in 2016. From January 2016 to June 2020, Persecution Relief has recorded 2067 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. The US State Department 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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