News (Page 43)

Angry relatives in Uttar Pradesh bang the door of a Christian family late at night and threaten to murder them if they did not renounce their faith in Christ. On June 18, at around 11 p.m., a 12-year-old boy heard his uncle and five other drunken men pounding at his house door in Ram Ganga Vihar area of Moradabad threatening to kill him and his 20-year-old brother. Molly James, 42, the terrified mother who was with the two boys when the angry assailants were at the door, asked the older son to run to the police station and seek help. According to Molly, her brother and sister have been portraying her as a bad woman in the Hindu-dominant neighborhood for accepting Christianity. They have been trying to expel her family from the area for the past three years. The incident occurred when Anil James, the father of the two sons, was away from home, in Delhi, due to COVID-19 lockdown, unable to return home as often as he did before. The assailants saw this as an excellent opportunity to harass the Christian family. "He is working hard to provide for our family, and he would not be granted a leave often to visit us. Before

Tribal Adivasis opposed his conversion, raped his mother-in-law. When Kande Munda heard a knock on his door one night last month, the Christian father of two knew it was likely the same thugs and their colleagues in his area of Jharkhand, India who had harassed him for nearly four years. They were particularly upset that Munda had reported them to police for a 2018 assault on his mother-in-law. The assailants, followers of tribal Adivasi religion, had opposed her conversion to Christianity by labelling her Christian prayers as “witchcraft” and gang-raping her. Munda and his family were already in bed after a hard day of work on the night of June 7 when they heard the knock on the door. Munda told his wife not to answer it. “He was suspicious that they must have come for him,” his wife, Bindi Munda, told Morning Star News. Three men forced the door open and entered, while four or five remained outside, she said. Darkness obscured their faces. “One of them pointed a gun at my husband and told the other two men that they should first rape me and then kill my husband,” Munda said. Their children, ages 1 and 3, were asleep. The armed assailants seized her husband

If homicide, it would be the third killing of a Christian in the country within a few weeks. Tribal Hindus persecuted a widowed, Christian mother of four before her body was found severely mutilated in the wilderness near her village in Chhattisgarh, India, sources said. The body of 40-year-old Bajjo Bai Mandavi was initially unrecognizable as it appeared to have been eaten by wild animals when it was found two miles into the wilderness near her native Kumud village, Kuye Mari, on May 29. She was last seen going into the wilderness of Kondagaon District to collect firewood on May 25. The death threats, deprivation of water and shunning she had suffered at the hands of villagers who were upset that she left their blend of Hindu and traditional tribal rituals led family members and area Christian leaders to believe she was raped and killed before animals fed on her body, they said. “There was no way to find out who the people were who raped my sister-in-law and then murdered her, so police and the authorities thought best to call it an attack by a wild animal,” a sobbing Bhajnath Mandavi, her brother-in-law, told Morning Star News. Bhajnath Mandavi is the younger brother of

A mob ransacked a young clergyman’s home. They threatened his family and two other Christian families that if they did not leave the village, their women would be raped, the men murdered, and their homes burnt. Police was forced to release two detainees. Hinduvta radicals attacked and mocked Rev Vikas Gupta (pictured right) in a remote village in Azamgarh district, Uttar Pradesh on 2 July, said Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC). “Vikas Gupta, a 21-year-old man, was dragged inside a Hindu temple where he was forced to bow in front of an idol,” George told AsiaNews. After that, “he was paraded through the village market”. His attackers “also damaged his motorbike.” The following day another mob broke into his home in Dassmora, a village in Azamgarh district. They ransacked the house, and threatened his family and two other Christian families that if they did not leave the village, the women would be raped, the men murdered, and their homes set on fire. After the mob left, the families asked police for help. On 4 July, the mob attacked the house of prayer, tearing down walls, breaking windows and doors. Following the third attack, Christians informed the Bardah police

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." (2 Cor 4:8, NIV) Life has been tough across India: Covid-19 has forced hundreds of millions of citizens into lockdown. For many of the nation's minority Christian population it has become a question of survival as they face discrimination and even violence. However, despite all this, millions of Indian Christians are remaining firm in their faith. "Christians are suffering even more than before," says Open Doors partner Brother Sam*, based in India. "Most of them have had to combat economic problems as well as opposition and hatred from their communities." But in the face of the worsening opposition, Christians in India appear to be unwavering in their faith and courageously living their lives for God. "The Lord's Spirit is really working powerfully," says Open Doors partner Sabita. "Persecution victims are standing strong and there are many people being healed and coming to faith." In one remote Indian village a church congregation managed to 'out-worship' a gang which was trying to intimidate them into silence. Brother Sam says: "One Sunday morning around 25 people barged into this church. "The men pulled the pastor down by his collar

Maoists in Maharashtra state killed a church pastor on Friday (July 10), the fourth death of a Christian for their faith in India since late May, sources said. In Bhatpar village, Gadchiroli District in the western peninsular state, pastor Munshi Devu Tado was leading a worship service on his property for about 15 village families from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. when three armed men and three women escorted him away, said his wife, Jaini Munshi Tado. “They shook hands with him at first, then took him by his hand and, after few steps, they tied his hands at his back with a rope,” she told Morning Star News. “I, my father-in-law and brother-in-law followed after them, pleading and enquiring as to why they are taking him. They said they just want to talk to him and that we need not worry, they will send him back in a little while.” Family members continued to follow until the Maoists forcibly stopped them and pushed them away, throwing them to the ground, Jaini Munshi Tado said. “Hardly five to seven minutes later, we heard a gunshot,” she said, weeping. “We immediately ran in the direction only to find the body of my husband in the

Back in December 2015, I wrote that India was in danger of becoming what I termed an 'election-only democracy'. Once a party had won an election, and formed a government, its leader(s) behaved as if they were totally immune from critical scrutiny, and could do absolutely what they wished for the next five years, when the next election was to be held. In a proper democracy, a democracy worth the name, the authoritarian tendencies of leaders elected to public office are kept in check by such institutions as a functioning parliament, a free press, an independent civil service, and an independent judiciary. That is how democracy functions in much of Western Europe and North America, and that is how the framers of our constitution hoped our democracy would function too. And so it largely did, for the first two decades after Independence. In her early years as Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi followed her predecessors Jawaharlal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri in regularly attending debates in parliament; in keeping the civil service and judiciary free from political interference; and in not seeking to intimidate the press. But after she split the Congress in 1969, her attitude to these things changed. She began promoting a 'committed' judiciary

Christian couple and their children were asleep in their beds in central India at 11 p.m. recently when villagers who follow the local tribal religion broke into their home and began beating them with wooden batons. The family of Bhima and Devi Markham fled from their home in Devkupli Para, Chhattisgarh state that night, May 20, to save their lives, an area pastor said. “They ran into the wilderness to hide while the assailants vandalized their belongings, throwing away the food grains in their homes,” pastor Ramdhar Kashyap told Morning Star News. The mob of 15 furious villagers went on to beat Christians Chenna Markham and Joga Kunjam and their families, along with an unidentified elderly Christian woman, driving them from their homes. “The three families including their children and the elderly sister, a total of 14 injured Christians, fled from Devkupli Para in different directions fearing for their lives,” Pastor Kahyap said. They journeyed about two miles on foot before reaching his church premises in Burdi village at about 3 a.m., he said. “They were profusely bleeding,” the pastor said. “I called 108 ambulance service in the wee hours and took them to the hospital.” Though villagers had persecuted the Christians for months, they attacked that

PM faces criticism for promoting construction of a Ram temple amid a pandemic and falling economy An architect's rendering of the proposed Ram temple in Ayodhya town in Uttar Pradesh. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to join a foundation stone-laying ceremony on Aug. 5. (Photo: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi plans to visit a controversial temple site in a move that could boost his party's idea of making India a Hindu-only nation.Modi, known for his hardline politics, is expected to participate in the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the temple in northern India's Ayodhya town, considered the birthplace of Hindu lord Ram.A centuries-old dispute over a temple-mosque structure in Ayodhya was aggravated in 1992 when Hindu zealots demolished the structure. It triggered nationwide Hindu-Muslim riots, killing at least 2,000 people.Modi's pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to the political mainstream by demanding demolition of the 16th-century mosque built by Muslim ruler Babur. They claimed Muslims built the mosque after demolishing a temple and campaigned to destroy it and build a new Hindu temple at the site. The temple construction was part of the BJP's election promises but was delayed because of court cases over land ownership. In November 2019, India's Supreme Court ruled in favour of a Ram temple. The judges upheld

Catholic devotees wear face mask attend the Holy Mass at the Saint Joseph's Church on the first day after the reopening of religious services after the government eased restrictions imposed as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Hyderabad on June 8, 2020. NOAH SEELAM/AFP via Getty Images Police have ordered six Christian families to either renounce their faith or flee their homes after they reported being brutally attacked by a radical Hindu mob. Joginder Bhuya, a Christian, told persecution watchdog International Christian Concern that he reported the attack to the Latehar District Police station of Jharkhand state on July 5. But instead of filing a report, officers gave Bhuya an ultimatum, saying they must either convert back to Hinduism or abandon their homes and leave the village. "I thought the police are there to protect and serve justice, but the police spoke exactly what the religious fanatics have been telling us," Joginder said. Earlier, Hindu village leaders had convened a meeting to discuss the fate of Christian villagers who had refused to renounce their Christian faith. There, it was decided that the Christians would be chased out of their homes and the village if they didn't abandon their faith and "re-convert" to Hinduism. When the

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