Victims of hate crime become the Accused, Karnataka
2 enraged local women, ganged up against a Christian family and brutally beat up Sr. Nirmala, her 80-year old mother in law, and 2 young children – 19-year-old boy and 17-year-old girl, who attempted to save their mother and grandmother – all needed medical attention.
Pastor S. Venkatesh Naik has been ministering with Hope Prayer House, in Karnataka state of India since the past 23 years. 2 years ago, the family moved to their ancestral property in Chennayyanahatti village, Chitradurga District, Karnataka.
The family belongs to the Lambani Tribe. Lambani’s usually lead a gypsy life and mainly inhabit the western Indian states including Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh and also found in the northern region of Karnataka. The Lambani tribe of India speak a language which is believed to have been originated in the state of Rajasthan.
Pastor Venkatesh inherited the ancestral property from his father and got it registered on his name. His heart’s desire was for the people group of his tribe, to have the opportunity to hear the good news of Jesus Christ and be saved. However, not everyone shared his enthusiasm. When a group of religious fanatics, learnt of his plans, they were openly hostile and harassed him incessantly, to discourage him.
In spite of the threats, Pastor Venkatesh was resolute in his focus and started “Hope Prayer House” for the glory of God. He built a temporary shed on this property, in order to conduct Sunday worship service. Over the last year, God has blessed the ministry which has grown to over 30 faithful believers who gather every Sunday to worship and praise God.
On 15th March, Pastor had left his home to run a few errands. Around 4 pm, well aware that Pastor was out, 2 ladies from the neighbourhood, trespassed into the house and ambushed the Pastor ‘s wife Sis. Nirmala, who is under treatment for her heart ailment. The neighbourhood have been aware of her illness and in spite of her frail health, they dragged and pushed her down and began kicking her on her chest. Badly beaten, Sis. Nirmala fainted with the unbearable physical assault.
Hearing her cries, her 80-year old mother in-law ran to rescue. So did her 2 children – a 19-year old boy and 17- year old girl, who were both overpowered by these 2 women, and received multiple blows on their body.
In a classic case of victim becoming the accused, these 2 women, went to the nearest Police Station, and lodged a complaint, accusing Sis. Nirmala and her 2 children of physically assaulting them, pretending to be victims of the crime perpetrated by themselves! To add insult to injury, there was no investigation or visit from the Police to examine the matter before filing the FIR.
The ladies admitted themselves to the local hospital to add authenticity to their false complaint. Sis. Nirmala was also admitted at the Government Hospital, Chitradurga, but was moved to the private ‘Pathanjali Hospital’, as her condition was critical.
It is alleged that the local villagers and religious fanatics are bidding their time after the election, to demolish the Church.
Church, please pray for the safety and protection of Pastor Venkatesh and his family. Pray for changed hearts, reconciliation and peace of God to abide amidst the community.
Persecution Relief had recorded 477 incidents of Christian persecution in 2018 where Karnataka ranked number 12among the top hostile states of India.
Church Attack’s: 91 Cases
Physical Attack’s: 62 Cases
Detained/Arrested falsely: 85 Cases
Boycott/ Discrimination: 28 Cases
Hate Campaign: 25 Cases
Restriction on Religious Assembly: 19 Cases
Threat/Harassment: 122 Cases
Church Burnt: 10 Cases
Murder: 4 Cases
2019 has seen a sudden spike in the number of incidents in Karnataka, which recorded 4 incidents in the last 2 months.
Persecution Relief has recorded 90 cases across January and February 2019 in India.
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