When uninvited Guests attack, Uttarakhand.
Everybody loves weddings. Not only does a wedding unite two people but also brings together two families in celebration, joy, laughter, fun, food etc. Although the Covid-19 crisis brought most weddings in 2020 to a sad and abrupt halt, the government of India has still allowed weddings to take place with a limited number of attendees, a relief to those whose didn’t mind foregoing a big Indian reception.
Over the lock down period, most cases of Christian persecution which were reported involved boycott, excommunication and Ghar Wapsi. However, Persecution Relief received a rather unusual message on WhatsApp from a gentleman in Uttarakhand named *Rev.Vijay. The message was about a Christian Wedding being disturbed and disrupted by a group of religious fanatics.
Rev. Vijay narrated to Persecution Relief that his family and a few close friends gathered together at his residence to conduct the wedding of his sister, *Gita. He informed us that the bridegroom’s family, who lives in the neighboring village, had acquired the necessary permission for the wedding and the family also followed all Government norms by observing a small gathering and maintained social distancing.
In spite of the gloom brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, close friends and family came together to make the day for the couple memorable and joyous. However, while the nuptials of the wedding were underway, a group of religious goons barged into the Rev. Vijay’s home and created a chaos. Showing no respect or remorse for the sacred union that was taking place, the rude group of uninvited guests moved around yelling and accusing the wedding party of conducting religious conversions inside the house.
Guests stood shocked and perplexed at what was going on while the bride and the groom grew anxious from what they witnessed. These unruly people then made their way to the area where the food was prepared and kept for the guests, They then began checking all the food containers for the presence of beef to try and find fault with the Christians to strengthen their claim. When the women who were present there inquired about what they were doing, they began misbehaving with them. While that went on, a few others scooped out their phones and began recording videos of the happenings within the home.
The police surprisingly arrived at the venue stating that they had received a complaint about conversions taking place there. In Rev. Vijay’s own words, “I told them that they could see for themselves what was happening and that they had every right to come and do that, but I also asked them why they did not prevent the religious fanatics from invading the sanctity and privacy of the wedding ceremony?”
It was very clear that the religious fanatics were hand in glove with the police in this scenario as the police did nothing to take the goons to task apart from asking them to leave and promising to make and inquiry. In fact, the police left before the religious fanatics did, allowing them to continue harassing the wedding party. Having to leave without their evil scheme being materialized, the frustrated goons tried to grab Rev. Vijay and beat him up on their way out. They also damaged a motorbike of a guest that was parked outside the venue. Rev. Vijay has been harassed in the past as well, but has continued to walk fearlessly in his Christian faith.
The nationwide lockdown may lead you to believe that the persecution of religious minorities has dwindled. When in reality, new ways and schemes of disturbing communal harmony within the nation are being conjured up. Religious fanatics are using the vulnerable conditions of poor and needy Christians in villages and remote places and threatening them to forsake their faith or be boycotted and excommunicated. Where do these helpless people go? Entire families including women and children have to be protected and provided for. More so, the fanatics know these conditions and use it against the Christians. During a time when the nation must unite and stand together, we come across goons like these who want to satisfy their diabolic desires of making sure that only the religion of their choice is followed.
Shouldn’t the police have detained the miscreants for their vile and unnecessary interruption? How would you react if you were a guest at this wedding?
Let’s pray for the newly wed couple who may remember their wedding day for more than just the celebration. Pray for the protection of Rev. Vijay and his family. Although we may be led to muster up hatred towards the religious goons for all that they did, let’s ask God to help us to forgive them and pray that they themselves would soon have a deep revelation of His love towards them.
‘The Lord Almighty is with us.’ Psalm 46:11. When we remind ourselves of God’s promises and His presence with us, it brings much joy to our hearts and gives us an opportunity to show courage and confidence even in difficult and challenging times. Are you depending on God for strength to go through the trials that face you?
From January 2016 to March 2020, Persecution Relief has recorded 1961 cases of Hate crimes against Christians in India. In the 1st Quarter of 2020, we recorded 187 cases. Between 1st Quarter of 2016 to 1st Quarter of 2020, there has been a rise of 128.04 % of Hate Crimes against Christians all across the country. In 1st Quarter of 2016, we have recorded 82 cases, in 2017 – 134, 2018 – 117, 2019 – 130 and in 2020 we recorded 187 cases of Christian Persecution. In 2019 alone, Persecution Relief has recorded the maximum number of 527 cases compared to 447 cases in 2018, 440 in 2017 and 330 in 2016.
In 2019 we have recorded 199 incidents related to Threats, Intimidations & Harassments against Christians, 104 incidents of Church attacks, 85 incidents of Physical Violence reported which includes Women & Children, 100s of House Churches were forcefully closed down by Religious Fanatics and the local administrations. US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) ranked India’s persecution severity at “Tier 2” along with Iraq and Afghanistan. Over the past seven years, India has risen from No. 31 to No. 10 on Open Doors’ World Watch List, ranking just behind Iran in persecution severity.
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