Tag: Hindu Radicals

Christian Converts in India Beaten for Refusing to Worship Hindu Gods

BY STOYAN ZAIMOV

People in India have been converting to Christianity following what has been described as miraculous healings done in the name of Jesus, persecution watchdog group Open Doors has said.

Christians held protests and candlelit vigils in the wake of the attack on an elderly nun in West Bengal in India in March 2015.

These Christians have remained devoted to their new faith in Jesus, despite enduring immense pressure from radicals who beat them for refusing to worship Hindu gods.

Open Doors shared the stories of several Christians from India on Monday, with one man, identified as Sohan, describing what happened to him after he and others in his village decided to follow Christ: “The villagers crowded around us and started punching and kicking us, all over our bodies. They asked us to praise Hindu gods and goddesses. We refused. They kicked us harder.”

Sohan was accused by the radicals of converting people to Christianity, which is against the law in five of India’s states.

He said that despite his fear of being arrested, which led to him spending four days in jail, he prayed to God, and saw those prayers answered.

“I preached the Gospel and prayed for an inmate who was sick. He was healed and believed in Christ instantly. My other cell mate was a person suffering from intense depression. He kept saying that he wanted to kill himself. I prayed for him and the suicidal thoughts left him. He also accepted Christ,” Sohan revealed.

He added: “The third person I met was a young man falsely accused of raping a woman. He also used to remain very upset and felt hopeless about his life. I shared the Gospel with him, and he also accepted Christ inside the prison. This way I saw God’s immense power and deliverance.”

Open Doors, which monitors and provides relief to persecuted Christians around the world, was able, along with its partners, to bail out Sohan, who has reportedly returned to his village, which wasn’t named, and lives among the people who attacked him and had him arrested.

“I suffered with many physical ailments and financial troubles before I became a Christian. Now I have freedom from all those problems and have a new life. This new life I will live only for Him, even if it includes persecution,” Sohan said of his experience.

“I give thanks to your organization for your help.”

Another Christian, identified as Mohan, said that while he was still a Hindu, his family prayed to Hindu gods and sacrificed animals in the hopes of healing his sick father.

One day a Christian villager advised that they start praying to Jesus instead.

“When we did, my father was healed. There was no more sickness in my family. Of course, we followed Jesus after that. To be honest, we never anticipated resistance,” Mohan revealed.

His fellow villagers were angry when they saw that the family was happy and healthy and following Jesus, and told them to leave their home. Mohan’s family refused, however, and for the past 10 years they’ve faced constant discrimination and attacks.

“Fifteen men came to their house, tied his parents’ hands behind their backs, and forced them to stand in a pool of water up to their shoulders until Mohan’s brothers could pay for their release. The couple were kept like this for 17 hours,” Open Doors said.

“When Mohan got married, local people forced him and his wife to take part in a Hindu marriage ceremony, and would not allow them to perform a Christian wedding. When Mohan’s father died, their Hindu relatives wouldn’t allow him to be buried in the village; Mohan’s family had to bury him in the jungle.”

Open Doors says it has been helping people like Mohan’s family recover and pay for medical expenses, and asked for Christians to pray and help support efforts reaching out to persecuted people in India.

There have been several recent reports of Hindu radicals attempting to convert Christians back to Hinduism.

International Christian Concern, another watchdog group, reported back in May that as many as 15 Christian families were forced to undergo such reconversion ceremonies in the Junwani village of Chhattisgarh over Easter.

“They can stop me from going to church but they cannot take Jesus from my heart. I will find ways and secretly come to church,” one Christian who was forcefully reconverted told a local pastor at the time.

Source: The Christian Post



Hindu Radicals Use “Siege-Like” Tactics to Choke Christianity Out of Village in India

By ICC’s India Correspondent

Two and a half years ago, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the Hindu nationalist BJP into power. Unfortunately, radical Hindu groups like the RSS, VHP, and Bajrangdal have used the BJP’s rise to power as a permission slip to harass Christians across the nation. Recently, radical Hindu groups have been using social boycotts to force Christians to “reconvert” to Hinduism.

activists-from-the-akhil-bharatiya-vidyarthi-parishad

Activists from the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP

16 Christian families living in Nachandih village in the Kondagaon district of India’s Chhattisgarh state are currently enduring such social boycotts. Hindu villagers refuse to allow them to participate in social events, graze their cattle, cultivate their farmland, or even live in their homes because they refuse to surrender their Christian faith. Since most of the Christians are farmers, these boycotts utterly destroyed their livelihood.

In 2012, 16 families from Nachandih village embraced Christ after God performed several healings and other miracles. Until March 2016, they were able to publicly practice Christianity, including meeting for regular worship and prayer services.

That changed on March 14, 2016 when Bajrangdal leaders manipulated the local village council to issue this ultimatum: “Christians should not be in this village, only Hindus have the freedom to live in the village, because India is [a] Hindu country. Those who have accepted the Christian faith must be reconverted back to Hinduism.” Despite this declaration, the Christian families refused to reconvert. The radicals then implemented social boycotts to try and change their minds.

The next day, the Christians went to the police station and filed a complaint against the Bajrangdal, but the police protected the Bajrangdal leaders instead of the Christians. This defeat was the first of many for Nachandih’s Christians.

india_-_0513_-_attacchi_chiese_fAlong with the social boycott, Bajrangdal leaders threatened the Christians to coerce them to convert to Hinduism. Pangu Markham, a 45-year-old Christian, described the dire situation to International Christian Concern (ICC), “There were about 300 people [on] one side and we, the small community of believers, were on the other side. The Hindu radicals threatened to kill us and take possession of our properties if we did not reconvert.”

Gradually, things got worse. One of the Christians who refused to reconvert, Prasad Markham, told ICC, “Hindu radicals destroyed my house and later kidnapped my one and a half-year-old daughter. They are not allowing me to rebuild my house.”

Over time, Christians like Pangu Markham acknowledged, “It is increasingly becoming hard for us to continue as Christians in the village. We are watched by the leaders of Bajrangdal. Because we are totally cut off from the village, we sometimes do not have enough food to eat. We are constantly harassed for no other reason than our Christian identity. This month we are not even allowed to bury our dead in the village.”

By May 2016, Hindu radicals grew tired of waiting for reconversions. They organized a mass reconversion ceremony at a Hindu temple and forced eight of the Christian families to attend. One of the family members, Themra Salam, described the ceremony, “Out of compulsion and fear, I participated in the re-conversion ceremony. It seemed I had no other choice as the Hindu radicals destroyed my house, stole my land and house deeds, and threatened to either kill me and my family or drive us out of the village.” Salam continued, “Inwardly, I follow Jesus and worship him. I want to come back and continue as a Christian openly.”

In addition to the threats and the ceremony, radicals forced each re-convert to pay a fine for previously accepting Christianity. Salam noted that he had to pay 20,000 rupees, approximately $300.00 USD, as the last person to renounce Christianity while the other seven families only paid 1,000 rupees.

Unfortunately, the story of suffering faced by Christians in Nachandih village is just one example of Christians facing social boycotts in India. Currently, Christians in over 50 villages in India’s Chhattisgarh state alone face similar siege-like tactics. Due to the fact that Hindu radicals have the freedom to conduct these social boycotts, there is no evidence to suggest that they will stop in the near future. This is a worrying trend and requires India’s elected representatives to take action to protect all citizens’ rights, regardless of their religious identity.

Source: International Christian Concern (www.persecution.org)