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A burned home, 2008
Many Christians were displaced
and murdered in the 2008 attacks.

In 2008, the Indian state of Odisha (formerly known as Orissa) erupted in religious violence after the assassination of a popular Hindu swami. Though Maoist rebels claimed responsibility, blame was quickly placed on Christians in the area. In the days and weeks that followed, hundreds of Christians were massacred and thousands displaced due to mob violence. Over the years, the Voice of the Martyrs Canada has been providing support for many children whose parents were killed in the attacks.

Seven Christians were arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment, despite overwhelming evidence of their innocence. During the past few months, however, those convictions have begun to be overturned by the courts. In May 2019, Gornath Chalanseth was released. In July, he was joined by Bijaya Kumar Sanaseth, leaving the other five accused men in prison after 11 years.

We are pleased to report that the remaining five Christians were granted bail by the country's Supreme Court on November 26th. According to Indian law, while all seven have been released on bail, they remain free unless the high court orders their detainment in the future. Vijayesh Lal from the Evangelical Fellowship of India declared, "This is like a Christmas gift for them." At the same time, he describes this as "a small success," since their names have not yet been cleared and those responsible for the original crimes remain at large.

Praise God for the freedom that has finally been granted to these innocent men! As they reintegrate back into their communities after so many years of imprisonment, pray that the transition be smooth and that they will be well received. Also pray for the restoration and blessing of their families, asking the Lord to recompence them for all the years of separation. Despite the extensive time gap, may the Lord continue to guide the judicial authorities in the courts so that the truth will be upheld.

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

Designation
Persecuted

Population
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)

Leader
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.

end

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India News

  • Anti-Conversion Laws Expand to Haryana State
    A group of people riding motorbikes, all wearing orange scarves, some carrying orange flags
    Hindu nationalists in Haryana.
    Photo: Morning Star News

    Despite strong opposition, and even walkouts organized by opposing politicians, the Haryana Assembly in northern India passed the "Haryana Prevention of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Bill" on March 22nd. The bill's stated purpose is to instil

    ...
  • Pastor Killed by Masked Men
    Man with his head in his hands
    Pray that believers will sense the comforting presence of God’s Holy Spirit who grieves with them in their loss.

    Pastor Yallam Shankar was at home in Angampalli, Chhattisgarh, on March 17th when five masked men suddenly burst in. After dragging the pastor from his home, the attackers stabbed him to

    ...
  • Pastor Beaten Over Conversion Allegations
    Large building (Delhi Police Station)
    Delhi Police Station
    Photo: Wikipedia / Ji-Elle (cc)

    On the morning of February 25th, Pastor Kelom Kalyan Tet was returning from visiting a friend when he was accosted on a street in South Delhi by a mob. Accusing the pastor of illegal conversion activities, they began to beat him. The assailants

    ...