Religious fanatics trespass private property, vandalize and allege conversion, Chhattisgarh
Pastor Thomas George and his wife were ambushed and confronted as they were walking to their home, by the Village Sarpanch and 2 other men on a motor cycle, who demanded to know where they had been and how much money they had received converting people.
Pastor Thomas George is affiliated with IFGM Ministries. Since the last 2 years, Pastor & family had been ministering in a village called Jangalpur village in Dongargaon Tehsil, which is around 8kms from Rajnandgaon district in Chattisgarh. Several families in the village, gather at Pastor’s rented home for prayers. Pastor is also constructing a house in the village.
As they were walking home, they were stopped by the Village Sarpanch and 2 other men, who asked them unnecessary invasive and intrusive questions. He accused Pastor of carrying out religious conversions and demanded to know how much they were getting paid for the service. When Sr. Vina asked for their identity, he told them that he was the village sarpanch.
After the unfortunate and troubling encounter, the religious fundamentalists, paid Bro. Ramdas a visit.
Since he was not at home, his wife was interrogated and asked awkward questions.
“Where is our god?” “Where are the pictures and idols? What have you done with them? “
Ramdas’s wife, terrified being corned and alone, graciously responded.
“I have God in my heart and I don’t need photos to remind me of Him”
After abusing her for abandoning her religion of birth, they left the place.
However, the Sarpanch and his 2 henchmen, went back to Pastor Thomas George’s house at 10.00 pm. They threatened and coerced Pastor to vacate the house immediately. When they expressed helplessness to vacate at that late an hour in the night, these unreasonable and reckless men, trespassed into the private residence and threw most of their possessions out of their home.
They even summoned for the House Owner, an elderly man, and asked him to throw out the Pastor and his family.
Eventually they called the perpetrators called the Police and to complain against Pastor and his alleged activities. It appears that the assaulters informed the Police of their planned action of evicting Pastor and his family because, when the police reached Pastor’s house, it was “not to rescue them but to arrest them”.
Police, took the side of the perpetrators and demanded that Pastor vacate the house the same night! When Pastor expressed the challenges of such short notice, both Pastor and his wife were taken to the Police station on charges of conversion. There the police demanded that they give a written undertaking that they will not indulge in conversion activities. They were later dropped back at Pastor’s home in Rajnandgaon.
Subsequently, Pastor received a call summoning him to the Police station for further questioning. On arrival, he was informed that Sarpanch Kishore Yadav had filed a ‘conversion complaint’ against him.
He was arrested and charged under Section 295 – “Injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class”. Later in the evening, since the hearing did not take place, Pastor was sent to jail. Being the weekend, he was in jail on Saturday and Sunday – strategically done, to prevent Pastor for attending Sunday worship – also knowing full well that the Courts would be closed for the weekend.
On the following working day, bail plea was heard and bail granted.
Church, please remember to lift up Pastor Thomas, his family, Bro. Ramdas and his family members in your prayers.
Pray that they will not be discouraged by continue to be steadfast in their faith in Jesus Christ.
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