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A Hindu conversion ceremony - Photo: Wikipedia / v
An initiation to Hinduism ceremony in progress.
Photo: Wikipedia / Thomas L Kelly (cc)

A Christian advocate has challenged the state government of Chhattisgarh for being directly responsible for the ongoing violence perpetrated against members of the Christian minority. Arun Pannalal, the president of Chhattisgarh's Christian Forum, recounts at least ten reported incidents of Christian persecution in five different locations across the state since early January – and more than 200 incidents during the past two years. "It is a complete failure of the state government," he states.

In an incident that took place on January 9th, a mob attacked members of a house church in Odagoan, causing them serious injuries. According to Pastor Hemanth Kandapan, the violence began when a Hindu nationalist, Sanjith Ng, entered the worship service and began beating those who were present. He then dragged Pastor Hemanth out of the building, where a mob of more than 200 had gathered.

The abuse continued as the mob joined in the attack against the pastor and another believer, Sankar Salam. Both Christian men sustained serious internal injuries and required medical treatment. During the attack, members of the mob accused the believers of illegally converting Hindus to Christianity. The rioting villagers also threatened to kill the Christians if they continued to hold prayer services in the community.

The next day, Hindu nationalist leaders forced the Christians in the village to take part in a Ghar Wapsi program – a ceremony of conversion to Hinduism. The term, which translated means "Coming Home," is based on the belief that all Indians are ancestrally Hindu, and thus they must return to their roots. During the ceremony, one Christian woman was forcibly converted to Hinduism.

Following this incident, five Christian families fled the village. It is not known when they will be able to return to their homes. To learn more about the persecution of Christians in India, go to our country report.

Please remember our Christian family in Chhattisgarh who are experiencing persecution in their communities, including those who have been forced to flee their homes. Specifically pray that as Pastor Hemanth and Sankar recuperate from their injuries, they will experience full recovery of health, as well as emotional healing from the trauma of the attack. Also prayerfully uphold the woman who was forced to participate in the Hindu conversion ceremony, asking God to restore her spiritually. In fact, may He sustain every one of these persecuted followers of Jesus, filling them with a renewed sense of strength, courage and hope. In the midst of the long-standing division and violence occurring across this Indian state, may our brothers and sisters in Christ ultimately overcome, so their lives can serve as powerful testimonies of His love and the resulting blessings of peace and unity.

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.

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