Strong-arm tactics to grab IPC Church land, Telangana
Certain lawless persons, illegally trespassed into a private property belonging to a Christian, with a JCB, deceitfully trying to grab private land.
Pastor Varukunnel Mathew Kutty lives on a plot of land measuring around 1 ½ acres, purchased some 40 years ago, legally registered to IPC (Indian Pentecostal Church of God) name. He ministers with the IPC (Indian Pentecostal Church of God), Gummadidala village in the outskirts of in the Medak district in Hyderabad, Telangana.
As the land prices are sky-rocketing for this prime piece of land, the original owners, expressed interest to buy back the property. A Church building has been constructed and over 400 believers gather to worship at the Church, which is surrounded by mango groves.
After consulting with the Head Office, Pastor politely communicated that they had no interest in selling the property, of which IPC (Indian Pentecostal Church of God) was the rightful owner.
In spite of this, on Wednesday, 17th April, in a brazen violation, a mob of 40-persons, along with a JCB, drove into the Church property, yelling and shouting at the inmates of Pastor’s residence, trying to intimidate and terrorize them, in an attempt to grab the land.
“If any of you come out of your home, we will kill you and bury you here”, they shouted.
Speaking to Persecution Relief, Pastor Stephen Abraham, son in-law of Pastor Mathewkutty, said that he lives around 25 kms away from where this property is located.
There were 3 persons on the Church property at the time of this intrusion. On hearing the news, Pastor Stephen took along with him several Church Leaders and members, and rushed to the site of the intrusion.
Pastor, unprepared to say the least, was shocked to see the full extent of the damage done to the property. He found a part of the fencing demolished, ripped up mango trees, some burned and some cut up and a lot of debris throughout the property
The persecutors, the old land owner relatives, Buchaiya and family, told the Police that the land was allegedly “gifted” and that they were entitled to take it back. However, when the Police demanded to see the Sale Deed, the Police determined that the land was indeed legally sold to IPC (Indian Pentecostal Church of God).
The Police were supportive and fair. They abused the persecutors and forced them to give a written statement that the land did not belong to them and that they will not indulge in harassing the family in the future.
Pastor believes that Christians are seen as a “soft target” and hence targeted.
“Just because Christians do not fight back and forgive, we are seen as vulnerable, but Jesus is our refuge and strength”.
Christians across India, have been facing a rising wave of violence in the past few years. Many attacks are believed to be politically motivated, in an effort to polarize the community, especially in the run up to the elections in April 2019.
In the first quarter of 2019, 130 incidents of persecution have been recorded by us. Telangana has recorded 5 incidents of hate-crime in the first quarter.
Across the country in India, the doors of a multitude of Churches have been sealed and scores arrested on false charges of indulging in conversion activities.
Church, continue to fast and pray for Telangana and for India
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