Tribal Christians ostracized and excommunicated, West Bengal
4 years ago, in the tribal-dominated village of Bhaskajuri, located in Barabani Tehsil of Barddhaman District of West Bengal, 2 families – (1) Bro. Manoj Tudu and his mother Sis. Tulsi Tudi and (2) Sis. Balika Marandi and her family members, embraced Christianity out of choice, accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior & Lord and committed to follow His teachings. They are members of ‘Big Life Ministries’ Church, being discipled by Pastor Tapan Ghosh.
Every Sunday, these tribal Christians gather to worship the Living God at Bhaskajuri village. However, over the last 3 months, they have become soft targets to religious fanatics, who have threatened the believers to stop following Jesus or to face death and to be ostracized from the village.
These families have been resolute in their faith in Jesus Christ, in spite of the village elders pronouncing harsh penalties, imposing social and economic sanctions – where the Christians have been cut off from all village activity, every government scheme and subsidy – totally isolating them from the rest of the village community.
However, the pain from ostracism has been severe and overwhelming, which has left the Christians threatened and insecure. Abandoning their personal property, land and their home, it has forced these terrified Christians families to move out of the village. They are currently living in the neighbouring village, at a Bro. Suku’s residence, as the situation in the village is very tense.
It is alleged that the persecution is spearheaded by a local Coal Business man named Mahadev Marandi, in a collusion with local Tribal Leaders. It is reported that this hardline religious fanatic, has been responsible for igniting the communal tensions and behind the attacks against these Christian families; he has reportedly financially sponsoring the excommunication to ‘liberate’ the village of Christians.
Recently, Bro. Manoj Tudu was arrested by the Police, instigated by religious fanatics – a case where the victim is falsely accused as the aggressor.
Speaking to Persecution Relief, Pastor Tapan had informed that Police about the illegal ostracization, excommunication and harassment by Mahadev Marandi and the local villagers. However, in spite of filing a complaint, no action has been taken by the Police so far.
“Religion is a matter of faith and choice, not force”, said Pastor Tapan.
“The Church has been serving the lowest and weakest of the society. Nobody is being converted. Religious fanatics are just maligning the Church and Christians”.
Rev. Raja Dey, Head of “Big Life Ministries”, had formerly been in Jewellery business, where after some disastrous decisions, contemplated suicide. This is where he had an encounter with Jesus Christ, and his life turned around. He now serves this life-giving Lord and has more than 1000 believers, to whom he ministers.
“Local tribal leaders are making every effort to bring back the Christians to their original faith. They were beaten up last week also.”
“The fanatics work in the brick kilns. After work, they get drunk, pick up their lathis and indiscriminately and without provocation, beat up the Christians”, added Rev. Raja Dey.
Christians living in and around the area have been deeply troubled by the “ethnic cleansing’, by religious fanatics.
“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken”. – Psalm 34:17-20 ESV
Church, let’s all pray in one accord for a divine intervention.
Pray that the believers will rest secure knowing that God is still in control of their lives, able to give them joy, peace and courage through these storms.
Church, pray for Haryana and the local leaders so that peace prevails in the city. Many Christians live in such hostile situations, denying them their Constitutional Right and Freedom of religion and Belief. Pray that believers will continue to stand strong in their faith and that none should be lost.
Let us be united in one Spirit and stand with the Persecuted Church in India, in an hour like this!
In 2018, Persecution Relief recorded 477 incidents of violence against Christians, of which 7 incidents were from the state of West Bengal.
In January 2019, 45 incidents of persecution against Christians have already been recorded.
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