Land Dispute Escalates to Violence

A group of people - including police - is gathered around the hospital beds of people being treated for their injuries.
Members of the Janwada Methodist
church receiving treatment in hospital.
Photo: Christian Solidarity Worldwide

For several years, villagers in Janwada, which is located within India's Telangana State, have been demanding that a road in their community be widened. On February 13th, workers moved into the area to start construction. However, it was discovered during the building process that the construction had encroached by several feet onto the property belonging to the community's Methodist Church, which had existed there for 50 years.

Members of the congregation who were present at the time of the construction demanded that the work stop until their church leaders arrived on the premises to discuss the matter. In retaliation, a mob of over 200 villagers eventually gathered and began quarrelling with the church members. By evening, the mob turned violent, throwing stones and bricks at the church building. Some of the participants in the mob violence began chanting a Hindu slogan while vandalizing the building. Of the 14 Christians who were injured during the incident, three of them had to be admitted to hospital as a result of head injuries.

When the violence erupted, Christians at the scene called the police who were thankfully able to disperse the crowd. However, the authorities placed an order on the village that until February 21st, there were to be no gatherings of more than three people. Although 12 perpetrators were arrested in connection with the mob violence, a counter complaint was filed against the assaulted Christians. The accusers claimed that people of the church had instigated the violence, leading to the arrest of five congregation members.

While some effort has been taken to ensure justice is upheld in this case, there remains concern over the frequency of communal violence committed throughout various areas of India. For more reports on incidents of this nature, go to our country report.

Please pray that each of the individuals who have been injured in this attack will experience full recovery – both physically and emotionally. In the meantime, may those responsible for inflicting the violence be held accountable for their destructive actions. Ask the Lord to give all parties wisdom, so they will be prepared to discuss positive alternatives and come to an amicable resolution to this disagreement. Also pray that any further tensions in the community will ease so peace and harmony can ultimately prevail.

India Information

  • Current Ministry Projects

    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

    Population
    1,399,179,585 (2023 est.)

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

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

    Leader
    President Droupadi Murmu (2022)

    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.

India News

  • Christian Woman Killed by Relatives
    A woman is silhouetted against a sunset.

     

    A Christian woman was beaten to death with a hammer and other weapons on June 24th because of her conversion to Christianity. The murder took place in Toylanka, a village in the state of Chhattisgarh.

  • Young Convert Killed and Widow Forced to Flee
    Jime Kawasi is looking down with her eyes closed.
    Kosa Kawasi's wife, Jime.
    Photo: Morning Star News

    On May 4th, 22-year-old Kosa Kawasi was killed during a violent mob attack while at his home in the village of Kapanar, Chhattisgarh state. The mob, believed to have been led by the young man's uncle and cousin, was angered that Kosa and his wife Jime had converted to Christianity. As a result, the opposing villagers had unsuccessfully tried to force the Christian couple from their home. Following this incident, the angry community members physically confronted the believer – ultimately inflicting a lethal stab wound.

  • Prison Sentence for Alleged Forced Conversions
    Pastor Ramesh Ahirwar and Sakshi.
    Pastor Ramesh Ahirwar and his wife Sakshi.
    Photo: Morning Star News

    A Christian couple was recently sentenced to prison after accusations were made that they had been involved in pressuring others to convert to Christianity. Pastor Ramesh Ahirwar and his wife Sakshi are from the village of Vivek Nagar in Madhya Pradesh. A man had accused the couple of abducting his estranged wife Sapna (who also happens to be Pastor Ramesh's niece) before allegedly pressuring her to convert, holding the woman against her will, and not allowing her to return home to be with him. He also purported that the Christian couple offered to build Sapna a home and give her money each month. The complainant, Abhishek, further claimed that the Christians attempted to convert him as well, offering him a job in return.

  • Land Dispute Escalates to Violence
    A group of people - including police - is gathered around the hospital beds of people being treated for their injuries.
    Members of the Janwada Methodist
    church receiving treatment in hospital.
    Photo: Christian Solidarity Worldwide

    For several years, villagers in Janwada, which is located within India's Telangana State, have been demanding that a road in their community be widened. On February 13th, workers moved into the area to start construction. However, it was discovered during the building process that the construction had encroached by several feet onto the property belonging to the community's Methodist Church, which had existed there for 50 years.