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News Driven out Indian Christians return, threat lingers

Driven out Indian Christians return, threat lingers

Tribal people attack the house of a Christian family in a village in India’s Chhattisgarh state for refusing to abandon the Christian faith on Sept. 22. Some 100 Christians who fled three villages following the attack have returned after a court ordered in their favor. (Photo supplied) 

Some 100 Christians have returned to their villages in India’s Chhattisgarh state following a court order, almost two months after they were attacked and driven out of their homes.

The state High Court in Bilaspur last week ordered the Kondagaon district administration to facilitate the safe return of the displaced Christians from three villages and to ensure their protection.

“We have returned to our villages as the court has ordered our protection,” Shiv Ram, one of the petitioners to the court, told UCA News on Nov. 17.

Ram said all 66 Christians from 10 families driven out of his Kakrabeda village have returned to the village. Some 30 Christians from six families, who fled from two other villages, also have returned, he said.

A mob of suspected Hindu right-wing activists attacked 16 houses in three villages in the state’s Bastar region on Sept. 22 and 23. The attack came after Christians refused a demand to abandon their faith in Jesus Christ.

They also attacked Christians, including women and children, in front of the police, forcing them to escape to a nearby forest to save their lives.

Following the Nov. 8 court order, the administration has set up a police check post and posted 12 police officers to ensure the Christians’ safety.

“But we don’t feel safe and are still worried about our lives,” Ram said. All 66 people “cook, eat and live together” in a temporary shelter as their houses were destroyed.

Ram said they were attacked in front of the police. “No one came to our rescue at the time,” he said, expressing a lack of confidence in police assurances.

The other villagers also ostracize them for accepting Christ and abandoning traditional beliefs.

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