‘Under-construction’ Church and Community Centre vandalized and demolished, Haryana
An ‘under-construction’ multi-purpose building, wasvandalized and demolished at Sonipat District of Haryana.
Pastor Akash, affiliated to Christian Evangelistic Assemblies, has been serving at Krevdi village, Sonipat, Haryana for the past 4 years. Currently, the Worship service is being held at Bro. Nawab’s house, where around 12 – 15 persons gather. Christian Evangelistic Assemblies, ministers in 9 villages including Sonipat.
4 years ago, a small piece of land, measuring 90 ft. x 20 ft. (200Gaj), was purchased in the name of Christian Evangelistic Assemblies, with the sole intention of constructing a multi-purpose building, to house a Church, a Sewing Centre and a Tuition & English-Speaking Centre, designed to provide and benefit the community.
Since no permission was required at the village level,Pastor collaborated with the community, and got therelevant building plans drawn up the Architect. Construction work of the foundation walls soon commenced and walls were erected on all sides of the property.
However, Pastor was regularly being summoned by the Sarpanch and threatened. The Sarpanch (Village Panchayat Head), along with local religious fanatics had been putting Pastor Akash and his family under immense pressure, to stop the construction of the Church, both directly and indirectly.
The building work started again on 7th November and almost immediately, the local fanatics gathered and threatened Pastor, demanding that the work stop. Considering the sensitivities of the majority community around Diwali and other festivals, Pastor decided to postpone the construction work.
The Panchayat Head convened a meeting on 11thDecember, and asked for Pastor to join the meeting at 5 pm, to discuss this matter. When Pastor and his wife arrived, around 150 persons were already assembled there. Before the meeting could commence and a decision be collectively taken, a group of religious fanatics, slipped out and covertly demolished the walls and pillars of the under-construction property.
The unidentified miscreants bent the steel rods, demolished the walls, up to the foundation level, broke the bricks and stones that were piled up, damaged the borewell and the motor on site.
Instead of working together and demonstrating trust, the prejudiced Sarpanch declared that going forward, all Church building related activities must be stopped. This decision has only further deteriorated the confidence of the Christian community in the Administration and polarized communities.
Under the ambit of Article 25 of the Indian Constitution, it bestows that all persons, not only citizens, have the right to profess, practice and propagate their respective religion.
Pastor Akash belonged to the Harijan caste (Harijan is aterm used to refer to people group of the lowest social status, traditionally considered “Untouchable”), hadsurrendered his life to following Jesus Christ as his Saviour & Lord, 8 years ago. He currently lives in the same village, around 300-feet away from the construction site. Most of the villagers belong to the Jat Community, who are considered as upper-class Hindus. The Jat’s and other villagers oppose any form of worship to Jesus Christ, including Sunday worship.
This young family – Pastor, his wife and 3 small children have been facing persecution and discrimination by the villagers, yet faithfully serving the Lord. They have even threatened to falsely implicate him and influence the Police to put him behind bars.
Please pray for Pastor Akash who is very disheartened by these events. Pray that his faith will not be shaken but remain steadfast in the Lord.
There is high tension, unrest and a sense of deep insecurity among the Christian minority community. Pray that God would give the government wisdom and integrity, to safeguard the Fundamental Rights of all Citizens, by promoting religious freedom in India, under Article 25 of the Indian Constitution.
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