Persecution in India comes from many sources. Religious disagreements among family or neighbours can escalate to violence, or Hindu leaders may openly oppose the spread of the Gospel in a community. While such incidents may be reported to the police, legal assistance does not always result. In many instances, police may even join in the harassment of Christians.
On February 7th, armed Hindu militants disrupted the worship services of two churches in the Madhya Pradesh state. The attackers beat congregation members and then persuaded the police to arrest more than 20 Christians on the allegation that they were taking part in "forcible conversions."
The police, aware of the planned attacks beforehand, arrived at the villages before the violence began. However, they did nothing to prevent the damages done to church buildings or the physical assaults committed against the congregants. Pastor Malsingh Meda from the village of Bhamdakhapar was arrested along with 21 members of his church. Also arrested was Pastor Dilipsingh Vasunia from Jambukheda village. Both were released on bail, pending trial.
On February 21st, local police joined with militants to disrupt a prayer meeting in the Ambedkarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh. They verbally abused the pastor and warned that he would be arrested and jailed on religious conversion charges if he conducted church services again.
Six days later, a Christian man, Prakash Narayan, was detained along with his family in Kallur village, Karnataka, where they were visiting another Christian family. Some local villagers complained to police that the family had been involved in religious conversions. Following an interrogation session, Prakash and his family were released after they signed a statement affirming that their visit was not connected with any conversions.
These are just a few of the recent incidents involving the police. To learn more about the persecution of Christians in India, go to our country report.
Remember these believers in India who are encountering ongoing harassment from family members and neighbours, as well as governing authorities. May those in power recognize their responsibility to equally represent all citizens in what is constitutionally to be a democratic nation. Pray that all Christians facing opposition will respond with words and actions that reflect the love and grace of God, ultimately bringing many more to faith in Him through Jesus Christ.