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Villagers immersed the couple in frigid water for 17 hours. (Flickr / pranav)
Villagers immersed the couple in frigid water for 17 hours.
Photo: Flickr / pranav (cc)

A Christian in Jharkhand state succumbed to illnesses that had incurred when villagers immersed him and his wife in frigid water last winter because they refused to deny Christ. Upset that his family had left their indigenous religion, tribal residents of Kubuaa village immersed Bartu Urawn and his wife up to their necks in a cold pond. The couple was in the water from 5 p.m. to 10 a.m. the next morning, at a time when the temperatures were hovering at about zero degrees Celsius.

Their son, Beneswar, reports that after suffering illness and two bouts of paralysis due to nerve damage suffered in the 17-hour ordeal, 50-year-old Bartu died on January 20th. "All throughout the night, they were in the cold water shivering, and I along with 15 to 20 villagers were witness to the brutality," Beneswar explains. "The villagers kept asking my father if he is ready to forsake Christ and return to the Sarna (tribal religion) fold. He reiterated every time, 'I will not deny Christ.... I will continue to believe till my last breath.'"

After pulling the couple out the next morning, the villagers hit Bartu and his wife, and again pressured them to renounce Christ. After the gruelling ordeal, the couple fell seriously ill. In time, Bartu's wife recovered, while he became immobilized from paralysis. Despite some measure of recovery, his body later became stiff again from a second attack of paralysis on January 20th, and he was unable to move his arms and legs before he died. To add to the family's trauma, the same villagers would not allow his burial to take place, insisting that the entire family return to their ancestral faith.

Relatives informed police of the circumstances leading to Bartu's demise, but officers considered it a "natural death." Instead, they arranged for villagers to attend "peace talks" in February and to cease from their attacks on the Christian family. The family has since returned to their home where they are living in fear. To learn more about the persecution of Christians in India, review our country report.

Please pray for Beneswar, his mother, along with other family members and friends, as they mourn over this unexpected loss -- asking the "Prince of Peace" to comfort and strengthen them. May they be encouraged knowing that Bartu's steadfast commitment during the ordeal is being acknowledged by God Himself who promises to render justice on their behalf and reward all who remain faithful. Also intercede for the villagers who committed this needless crime, praying that they will cease their persecution of the family; repent of their wrongdoings; and come to realize the truth of the Gospel and the salvation that's available through God's Son, Jesus Christ. Even in the midst of their grief, may Bartu's family bear witness to His everlasting gift of salvation.

Current Ministry Projects

VOMC VOMC assists persecuted Christians with legal support and rehabilitation assistance, and cares for children of martyrs by providing them with a safe place to be nurtured physical and spiritually. VOMC also partners to equip Christians in India with Biblical training and works to strengthen and support marginalized and persecuted Christian women. Additionally, VOMC helps to provide medical assistance to believers who have faced injuries after being attacked.”

Project Funds: Families of Martyrs, Equipping the Saints, Legal Defense, Relief and Development, Women’s Ministry, Medical Fund

Country Information


1,339,330,514 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Indo-Aryan (72), Dravidian (25), Mongoloid and other (3)

Religion (%)
Hinduism (79.8), Muslim (14.2), Christianity (2.3), Sikh (1.7), other (2)

President Ram Nath Kovind (2017)

Government type
Federal parliamentary republic

Legal system
Based on English common law; separate personal law codes apply to Christians, Hindus and Muslims.

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for India

Despite the intimidation and violence that have taken place in many of India's states, may Christians wisely yet unashamedly preach the Gospel. Pray that indigenous Christians and foreign missionaries will minister in ways that do not hint at fraudulent conversions, unmasking the intentions behind the anti-conversion legislation. Intercede for India's leaders, that they may reign with justice and righteousness.


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    Delhi Police Station
    Photo: Wikipedia / Ji-Elle (cc)

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