“I had not expected such levels of violence in the villages in Chhattisgarh against Christians till I saw it with my own eyes. I could not have imagined the co-ordinated operation of hatred from the religious radicals toward Christians that had them utterly damage my vehicle and cause so much of destruction and pain to my brethren. Only God saved my life and those of the pastors who accompanied me to support our persecuted brethren,” says Manoj Daniel, Persecution Relief co-ordinator.
Still shaken from his experience at Kuktur police station, our co-ordinator narrated the extremist violence in Polmi village, Kawardha, Chhattisgarh, that was played out by the perpetrators in the lives of Christians in 3 churches simultaneously. He had received a call from the church pastor, Kawal Parasthe and the church members who were reportedly physically abused, their property vandalized and damaged, Bibles ripped off and burned, the Christian women assaulted and men beaten, slippered and kicked on their heads and bodies by a vigilante mob group of 200.
Bro. Manoj, our co-ordinator, along with Pastor Moses Logan, without wasting time, got into Bro. Manoj’s car, and set out to travel to Kawardha where a fellow Persecution Relief co-ordinator, Bro. Rakesh Singh was waiting with three other pastors to join them on their onward journey to Kuktur police station. Ps. Kawal Parasthe, had been dragged to the police station by the radical group that was pressurizing the Police Inspector to file a case against him on the basis of coercive conversion.
Elaborating on the incident, Bro Manoj says, ‘It was usual Sunday service on 29 Aug, 2021 being conducted at Ps Parasthe’s church where the church members were gathered for worship. All of sudden, almost as if the church had been under the scanner of the extremists, 100 people barged into the church, assaulting the pastor, tearing up and burning the Bibles, song books, breaking the furniture, light bulbs, windows, hurling physical blows and punches on the men, and manhandling the women and the pastor’s wife. There were 100 more waiting outside with murderous intentions.”
Bro Manoj, while continuing with the narration, says, “Little did I anticipate that I would be facing such persecution when God orchestrated my divine calling to serve persecuted Christian brethren.’ Upon reaching Kawardha from Bhilai where he drove from, he was joined by Bro Rakesh Singh and the three pastors and departed from there to Kuktur police station. Driving almost, 250 km covering the journey in 3 hours with uncertainty of what lied ahead looming large over their faces, they finally reached Kuktur.
At the police station, Ps. Kawal, his wife and mother stood there distraught, helpless and shattered with 5-6 radicals sitting in the next room waiting to implicate them. After assuring the pastor and their family of their support from Persecution Relief, Bro Manoj further unfolds the gory details of their encounter with the radicals. All through their journey to the police station, Bro Manoj and the fellow brethren had kept in touch with the SP who informed them of his directives to the PI of Kuktur police station to file the FIR against the perpetrators.
Upon entering the PI’s cabin, while they were all set to file the FIR, the 5-6 extremists who were already seated there, barged into the PI’s cabin and hurled threats at Bro Manoj and team. Their sole objective was to obstruct the police from registering the FIR. Frustrated with the perseverance of Bro Manoj and his team, the radicals sought compromise with them. The condition they put across was the church should not allow or entertain any other person from any other community, tribe, religion to attend church worship or service. Bro Manoj and team stood their ground, refusing to give in to any condition of the radicals; in fact, added to their frustration, by inviting them to attend church and see for themselves if their accusation of conversion acts were at all conducted in Christian churches.
Unable to dissuade the Persecution Relief team from registering the FIR, they openly mouthed death threats in the presence of the PI and other police personnel. Undeterred the Persecution Relief warriors filed the FIR. While these 5-6 radicals continued their harassment, one of them called a mob of 200 plus radicals to wait outside the police station. The group of 6, with the support of the head of the radicals from outside, were pressurizing the PI to move Bro Manoj and team out of the police station. Ps Kawal and his family under police protection had returned home. The PI hurriedly arranged police protection for the Persecution Relief team as they saw the intentions of the extremists were wicked toward the team.
The extremists were booked and FIR 0089 was registered under Section 154 IPC 1860 -452, 294, 295, 323,147.
Sensing something drastically was wrong, when the PI said, “Please leave now, as quick as you can, we will provide you police protection,” Manoj and team complied and got to the car. 4 of the pastors got into the police Bolero vehicle with police personnel accompanying them while Bro Manoj and another pastor with 3 police personnel seated in the backseat of the car, pulled out and drove out of the station. What they saw was a strong mob strength of 100 extremists waiting outside the station shouting slogans, beating the vehicle with rods, causing the windshield, rear view mirror to break and the back of Bro Manoj’s car suffering severe damage.
Bro. Manoj ,however, kept on the gas, with his heart pumping wildly, somehow, maneuvered the vehicle to overtake and drive up ahead of the Bolero police vehicle. The mob, however, kept up their violent behavior by hurling stones at them while another 100 of them stood a little ahead blocking them. The police, sensing trouble, took a detour by moving to the rough, unlevelled roads leading to a village and jungle, driving through while protecting the Persecution Relief team and finally dropping them off at Pandariya village which was safe enough for the team to travel further.
“Their intention was to stop the vehicle and beat us,” says Bro Manoj about the perpetrators but by God’s protection and grace the Persecution Relief team escaped. It was 3 am the following day, in the wee hours of the morning when they arrived home at Bhilai. Bro Manoj goes on to add, “The perpetrators had co-ordinated operations against 3 churches simultaneously in groups of 200. Apart from Ps Kawal’s church in Polmi village, 2 other pastors of a church in the nearby village in Dalamauha, Kawardha were also assaulted. After check-up at the hospital, an FIR was registered. However, the third church which is 8 kms away, did not see any untoward incidents, but the plan to disrupt and destroy the church gathering and property is certainly on their agenda.”
Reportedly, Ps Kawal and his family have left the village since, as further violent acts are being hatched by the extremists despite police protection being provided to the family.
Persecution Relief founder Shibu Thomas has this to say about the sharp rise of mob vigilante groups and their plots to attack the church, “House worships, small church gatherings have been targeted lately by the radical activists and it is very easy for a nexus of these groups to come together, conspire and use their weapons of threats, assaults and violence against peace-loving Christians. The common ground of these extremists is to falsely accuse Christians of illegal conversions, instill fear in them and make only one religion the centre of the community fabric.
The subtle whispers of conversion being propagated by the radicals is really just their way of calling it out as apostacy of their religion which does not understand the love of Jesus Christ for the entire human race. The Love of God is far more powerful than the hatred that we face as pursuers of Christ.”
We request the Body of Christ to pray for the following prayer points:
Pray for the persecuted churches, members and leaders that God may give them the boldness, faith and protection to shine for Him in the midst of persecution.
Please pray that the Love of Christ uproot and eradicate every seed of fear and intimidation from the hearts of the persecuted church pastors. That they may be used as battle axes of the Lord of hosts to spread His Love among the lost fearlessly.
Please pray for the Persecution Relief team as they go as sheep among wolves to support and provide relief to the persecuted brethren risking their own lives.
Please pray for the Body of Christ to rise and shine for Jesus bringing His heavenly kingdom and order to this world.
Persecution Relief coordinators and warriors without much ado and delay rushed to the police station while knocking on the doors of highest departments of law for justice to their brethren. Despite facing stiff opposition and confrontation by the extremist mobs and their leaders, the team not only provided spiritual care and support but also judicial and financial aid to the brethren.
The task at hand to rescue and support fellow persecuted brethren though risky, the Persecution Relief team holds fast to the one commandment of God to love even the enemies of Christ and His church and draw their attention to Jesus, the Savior and Redeemer of all mankind.
Pursuers of Jesus Christ need our help and support, and we urge the Body of Christ to be the hands and feet of Christ and rush help in the form of emergency aid, safe houses, and every possible aid to the persecuted pursuers of Christ. Will you come forward in love for your brethren?
1 Corinthians 10:13 – No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
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