A pastor and seven others were assembling relief packages for the poor in their area when they were assaulted and arrested by police officers. The police falsely claimed the group had gathered for worship in numbers forbidden under COVID-19 restrictions.
The pandemic lockdown has been hardest on the poor, who are now unable to obtain food and other necessities. India's prime minister recently called on citizens to help feed poor families. So Pastor Ramesh Kumar joined with others to answer that call. As they were preparing the gifts on April 25th, police stormed the home where they had gathered. After threatening the group and beating them with clubs, the police arrested four Christians, as well as the homeowner's three sons and nephew who were not members of the church.
While being interrogated, police insisted that the money to provide the aid must have come from foreign organizations, even though Pastor Ramesh insisted that church families had pooled their own resources to help. It was only when the village head, Kallu, arrived that the officers were willing to listen. After he signed a statement that the Christians had obtained permission to collect food for distribution to the village's nomadic beggars, the eight held in custody were thankfully released.
The next day, however, Pastor Ramesh discovered that a case had still been filed against them, alleging that the group had gathered for prayer. A local newspaper also reported that the church had continued gathering for worship in the pastor's home, though all services had been discontinued since mid-March due to quarantine restrictions. This kind of harassment is common in parts of India, where accusations from those opposed to the Gospel message are used to create problems for the followers of Christ. For more information on the persecution of Christians in India, including previously posted reports, go to our country report.
Prayerfully lift up Pastor Ramesh and the other community members who assisted him with the humanitarian relief efforts, as they now face these false accusations. May they receive vindication in their case, resulting in all charges against them being dropped. Pray for God's blessing and protection to be upon them as they seek ways to continue reaching out with His love and compassion, despite threats of violence and any other forms of opposition they may encounter. Intercede for those opposed to the Gospel, asking God to help them recognize the love of Christ that is being demonstrated in these small but very significant tokens of kindness.