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India: 25 hardline Hindus with bamboo sticks say Christians cannot live in village, beat Christian family

Persecution of Christians in India: Christianity has been in India since apostolic times, brought there by St. Thomas the Apostle in A.D. 52, as attested by St. Ephraim, St. John Chrysostom and St. Gregory the Theologian, among others. St. Thomas was martyred in India in A.D. 72. Today the Malankara Orthodox Church of the East still survives there, an apostolic Church that broke with Holy Orthodoxy over the Council of Chalcedon in 451. There also remains a small number of Orthodox Christians under the jurisdiction of the the Holy Metropolis of Singapore. Roman Catholics and Protestants came to the Indian Subcontinent much later. As this article shows, Christians are frequently persecuted in India, mistreated and even brutalized by the Hindu majority. This persecution occasionally turns violent.

Christians of the ancient apostolic Churches are less often subjected to this treatment than are evangelical Protestants, but this persecution is a matter of concern for all Christians, and for all people of good will who believe in the dignity of every human person and in every person’s freedom to worship as his or her conscience dictates.

For previous ChristianPersecution.com coverage of the persecution of Christians in India, see here.

“Hindus, Ex­-Church Members Attack Christian Family in India,” Morning Star News, September 25, 2020:

HYDERABAD, India (Morning Star News) – Punita Kumari was caring for her family in eastern India the morning of Sept. 14 when leaders of about 25 hard-line Hindu assailants armed with bamboo sticks forced their way into their one-room home.

Saying Christians could not live in their village of Jhikatia, Bihar state, the assailants dragged her husband, Pastor Vinouwa Das, out and began beating him, Kumari said.

His sister tried to shield him, and they beat her too, she said. Kumari gathered up her newborn and rushed out, pleading with the assailants to talk about any grievances rather than attack, but they ignored her, she said.

“They shouted at me that we must vacate the premises immediately, and that they will not allow Christian services in the village,” Kumari told Morning Star News. “They were furious and beat me up also with the wooden sticks. It was not even a month since I was out of labor. My newborn also suffered injuries along with me.”

Among the assailants: members of the once-Christian family who had granted them land for their home and a one-room church building, as hard-line Hindus had pressured them to renounce Christianity and reclaim the land, she said.

The assailants intercepted and attacked Pastor Das again on Sept. 17 as he was on his way to a market to buy essential items for their home and baby, she said.

“They threatened him that he would be killed if he did not stop church services and vacate the village with the family,” Kumari said. “Since the family who was attending church regularly last year departed slowly from the faith, they have joined hands with upper-caste Hindus to try to forcefully evict us from the village.”…

India is ranked 10th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. The country was 31st in 2013, but its position has been worse each year since Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014.

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