THE spiritual battle is increasing in
Many Dalats, the poorest people of India,
are converting to Buddhism which they believe gives them respect which they do
not receive in Hinduism.
Reports say there is now also a mass
movement towards Christ among the Dalats, and this has Hindu organisations
really worried. They see that people are clamoring to hear the Gospel, to have a
relationship with Jesus, and they want to stop it.
says Hindu extremists are seeking to re-convert those who have become
Christians. “Those who are re-converting may be fruit of tract or hit and run
evangelistic campaigns. Discipleship is important to make sure that every person
who hears the Gospel has a relationship with a local Christian. When new
believers have a relationship with local Christians, re-conversion does not
Call for Nationwide Anti-conversion Law
FEB 11. An estimated 300,000 Hindus
converged on the Dangs region of Gujarat for a 3-day Shabri Kumbh Mela - a
“re-awakening” event. The main slogan for the Kumbh Mela is ‘Hindu Jago, Christi
Bhagao’ (Hindus arise, throw out the Christians).
Speakers at the rally claimed Christianity
is a major threat to Indian nationalism, and called on tribal Christians to
“reconvert.” A resolution at the Mela called on the central government to take
serious note of conversion issues in tribal areas and enact laws to prevent
them. It called for a nationwide anti-conversion law.
The leaders also claimed that
anti-conversion laws formed by the state governments of Madhya Pradesh,
Chattisgarh, Gujarat and Orissa have proved ineffective because of loopholes.
Attempt to burn pastor alive
JAN 12-13. In
district, AP, two pastors and five
others sustained injuries in two attacks. A mob of about 100 extremists attacked
a group of Christians led by a pastor as they distributed pamphlets. Police
intervened before they could burn the pastor alive.
In the second attack, an extremist group
dragged five people from a 5-year-old girl’s birthday party and beat them. The
pastor was kicked unconscious and left.
Homes Burned and Christians Beaten
JAN 15. A brother of a pastor, returning
from the market in Matiapara village in
Orissa, was beaten and
abused. To prevent problems in this small village of 70 people (where only nine
are Christians), the incident was not reported to the police. The next day,
however, local villagers armed with “lathis” (bamboo rods) attacked the
Christians. Their houses were ransacked and the home of the pastor was set on
fire. Nearby homes also caught fire and were destroyed. Six of the eight homes
burned belonged to Christians.
Hindu villagers have accused the
Christians of forcible conversion. And a militant youth group claimed the
Christians were using torture to convert Hindus.
Orphanage stoned. Child killed
JAN 26. In
an angry mob attacked a Christian orphanage, stoning one of the children to
death in the rampage. About 100 abandoned children and orphans along with two
pastors were in the home at the time of the attack. The attackers demanded that
the Christians revert to Hinduism.
Four leaders arrested
JAN 26. Four Christians were arrested in
accused of converting tribals to Christianity. A bus load of 23 tribal
Christians were on their way to a Church convention in Nagpur when police,
acting on complaints from a member of a Hindu organisation, arrested the four
leaders and charged them under the state’s “Religion Freedom Act.”
Christians beaten with iron rods
25 Christians were beaten up by attackers. A witness said he saw about 35 people
armed with iron rods and sticks fleeing from the house where the Christians had
been praying. Several of the Christians, including a priest and a child, were
JAN 28. Extremists armed with sticks, rods
and other sharp weapons attacked a Christian seminar being held in a private
home in Bhopal.
The militants began to pelt the building with stones, shattered windows and
tried to break down the doors. Accusing the Christians of organizing religious
conversions, they began to beat the worshipers with rods. At least 18 were
injured, including six who were rushed to a hospital in serious condition.
The assault left the pastor who had
organized the seminar, with fractures in his hands and legs while the guest
speaker suffered a broken hand and a head injury requiring eight stitches. This
was the fourth attack against Christians in the state in four days.
Children’s hostel inauguration stoned
JAN 29. Bishop Thomas Dabre and 3 priests
were inaugurating a hostel for tribal children in the village of Ghosali,
when they were pelted with stones
and verbally abused. One of the priests sustained head injuries.
The incident began when over 100 members
of the militant organizations began protesting against the hostel, claiming that
its purpose was to convert the children to Christianity. Local villagers who
were grateful for this new facility drove the militants away before violence
Pastors beaten and humiliated
JAN 30. In
Indore, Pastor Jojin was
distributing tracts in slum areas of the city when he was accosted, beat and
driven out of the area. On Feb 5, about 40 people enter-ed the church compound
as the pastors were preparing for the morning prayer service. The door of the
church was smashed in and the mob began beating Pastor Jojin and Pastor Jijo, a
trainee. Bibles were destroyed. The two pastors were paraded through the
streets as the crowd humiliated and thrashed them on the way.
When the police intervened, the injured
pastors were first detained but later taken to the hospital. Three of the
attackers have been arrested. They accused the pastors of misleading the public
and preparing them to be converted to Christianity.
If these were isolated incidents, it would
still be extremely serious. But it is worse. All across India, Hindu radicals
are openly attacking Christians, and the situation is getting more and more
difficult for the believers.
Pray that God will strengthen His church,
mend the broken bones, and uplift the spirits of the persecuted believers. Pray
that their testimony and faithfulness will result in many coming to Christ.
“But I tell you, Love your enemies, bless those who
curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who insult and
persecute you; that you may prove to be sons of your Father who is in
heaven.” (Matthew 5:44-45)