Police help falsely accused Pastor,Uttar Pradesh
Pastor Ezekiel Joshua was falsely accused of disturbing the society by a few people in his neighborhood. Police intervened and eventually let him go without any accusations or charges.
Pastor Ezekiel Joshua comes across a humble man with great confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ. He has been a pioneer in Christian missions with the Assemblies of God Church in Uttar Pradesh and is a veteran who relentlessly serves the Kingdom of God. He is based in Kanpur but works extensively in and around Kanpur and in the central parts of Uttar Pradesh.
For the last 10 years, Pastor Ezekiel has been running short term Bible training which span over a period of 6 months. These courses have been conducted for men and women separately every year since the premises that Pastor Ezekiel uses is not enough to house both male and female. Last year, they made the course available to women and it was supposed to end on the 31stof March. However, due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, Pastor Ezekiel had to end the course ahead of time as Indian States began to seal their borders and transport was slowly getting scarce.
All guardians and parents of the young women were alerted to pick up their children. Unfortunately, many parents couldn’t make it on time as a Nationwide lockdown was issued on the 24thof March. Assuring the troubled parents of their child’s safety, Pastor Ezekiel willingly obliged to care for them. 6 girls had to stay back with Pastor Ezekiel and his family.
A short while ago, Persecution Relief received a call late in the evening. We spoke to Mr. Ezekiel’s daughter who informed us that two police officials had come to her home at around 10:30pm. The police told them that they had received a complaint from a few people living in the neighborhood saying that they were violating the law. These neighbors also complained that they were being disturbed by the prayer and worship gatherings that were taking place at Mr. Ezekiel’s home. That was not all, they went on to falsely allege that these meetings were taking place at odd hours of the night when in reality, they were conducted only during the day.
Seeing many young women at the Pastor’s home, the police began inquiring about them. After the Pastor explained the situation to them, the police men said that they would need to take the girls to the police station and started interrogating the girls but they boldly and wisely answered the police men and stood their ground. The police then threatened to call the media. However, the Pastor insisted that he would be willing to send them to the police station only if a lady constable was present.The policemen who seemed agitated by the Pastor’s reply thensternly told the Pastor send his son Johnny along with them. The Pastor agreed, but as the police men were walking out with Johnny, they suddenly calmed down and changed their mind. They then told Johnny to come to the police station the next day at 10am with all the necessary documents.
The next morning. Pastor Ezekiel and his son Johnny promptly went to the Police Station, but did not find the two police men who visited them the previous night. They then met another Police in charge and briefed him about their situation. “The officer was extremely kind to us and asked us to write an application explaining our case” explained Pastor Ezekiel, in conversation with Persecution Relief. When the SHO (Station Head Officer) arrived, Pastor and his son presented the written application to him. In turn, the SHO assured the Pastor that there was nothing to worry about and even gave them his personal number to contact him on if there was any further issue.
“We had some Christian literature with us, which we blessed the policemen with and also promised to give them Bibles the next time we come around” said the excited Pastor. When our Persecution Relief representative asked the Pastor how he would like to encourage the Christians across the country, he said, “Lets always continue to pray together, I was unable to sleep the previous night, as I was very disturbed about what had happened, but I woke up to so many calls because a lot of people got to know about our ordeal after they seen the Persecution Relief Prayer Request that was posted and circulated for us. This was extremely comforting. I really want to thank everyone who prayed, God bless you.”
Lets approach God with thanksgiving and pray for Pastor Ezekiel, his family and his ministry. Pray that the young women would soon return home safely. Pray that their neighbors would not make false allegations against them, moreover, that their hearts would be drawn towards a true and living God, Jesus Christ. Lets not forget our Police force who are working tirelessly during this challenging time that the country is going through.
Truly, prayer works wonders when people come together! 1 Peter 3:8- This section of Scripture begins with an encouragement to “be of one mind”. That means to live together with other people in peace. The Scripture goes on to say “not returning evil for evil but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing” Praying as a body of Christ edifies not only the one who is prayed for but also the one who prays. Above all, it glorifies God.
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Between January 2016 to December 2019, there has been a rise of 59.6% 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.
What stands out amongst the Hate Crimes in India is that 4 Christians were murdered in 2019. We recorded 199 incidents related to Threats, Intimidations & Harassments against Christians, 104 incidents of Church attacks, 85 incidents of Physical Violence reported which includes Women & Children, 100s of House Churches were forcefully closed down by Religious Fanatics and the local administrations.
The state of Uttar Pradesh has showed a shocking 179.4% leap in cases of Christian Persecution between 2016 to 2019! From 39 cases being reported in 2016, the number has sky rocketed to 109 cases in 2019 alone bringing the total count from across the country to 527 cases. Uttar Pradesh has proved to be the most hostile state in the country against Christians for the past 3 consecutive years. Tamil Nadu continues to rank as the second most hostile state in the country with 75 cases, followed by Karnataka with 32 cases, bringing the state of Maharashtra to number 4 with 31 cases and Bihar with 30 cases stands at number 5.
US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) 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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