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Photo from GCIC

On Sunday, September 26, Hindu militants stormed a small, mostly tribal fellowship in Umachagi village, Karnataka, which has been led by Pastor Shivanda Siddi (45) for the past five years. After interrupting prayers, they tried to argue with Pastor Siddi while abusing believers and taking their Bibles. For the next half hour they insulted, beat and stripped the pastor before phoning the police and falsely accusing him of forced conversions. When the police arrived they arrested the pastor, seven women and two children. While the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) was able to intervene to get the women and children released, Pastor Siddi was tried and charged under Section 295 of the Indian Penal Code, which prohibits "forced" conversions. At last report, the pastor had been released on bail.

Omar Beiler, a regional director with AG World Missions, has shared, "Although I'm deeply pleased that GCIC was able to secure the release of Pastor Siddi...this kind of incident is not isolated or restricted to India. Persecution is a very real experience for many Christians around the world. I believe our prayers for the suffering Church can make the difference between life and death for many of our brothers and sisters in Christ who experience -- at the very least -- daily threats." (Source: Australian Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission, AGNews)

Thank the Lord that this pastor has been released on bail. Pray that all charges will be dropped. Ask the Lord to continue to strengthen His church in India so they will remain faithful in spite of the opposition. Pray for the perpetrators of this attack and those in authority.

For more information on persecution in India, please visit the India Country Report.