Image: Meena and Sunita-Two sisters who had been brutally beaten with big bamboo sticks by the villagers and expelled 3 years ago. They are already settled in another village, Open Doors partners have provided them a small shop through which they are able to earn their livelihood. Opposition still prevails and they aren’t able to return to their village but they are joyful and continue sharing about Christ to people they meet.
Last week a popular Hindi Newspaper claimed that over 25 families who had earlier been “lured” to christianity using money and free access to health facilities, etc. have now been reconverted to Hinduism (Ghar Wapsi) by the people in their villages.
OD partners were further were able to speak to the Pastors who were in contact with the families. We received information that actually only 4 christian families and not over 30 families, had reconverted to Hinduism. These families were also forced to take the step and had been pressurrised by the society and relatives to publically leave their christian faith and perform the Ghar Wapsi ceremony.
One of the victims of Ghar Wapsi (out of the 4 families who had recoverted to Hinduism) reported, “In our hearts we still belong to Jesus. We have been pressurised by our family members and members of Hindu extremists groups to perform this ritual of Ghar Wapsi of leaving christianity. We were threatened of being expelled from village and of being brutally tortured.”
Though only 4 families are right now known to have reconvert to Hinduism, this Ghar Wapsi campaign (raiding christian meetings and arresting the Pastors and reconverting converted christians to Hinduism by force) seems to be gaining momentum and media seems to glorify it claiming that Extremist groups are been able to convince numerous families to come back to their original faith.
Numerous Pastors continue to be arrested on false charges of luring people to christianity. Raids are being conducted on house churches and the media and newspapers claimed that christian missionaries are running these “agencies” which is dedicated to convert Hindus to christianity using money and other fraudulant means.
Most of the pastors and leaders have been bailed out when arrested but church services have mostly been closed down because of the prevailing threat. Few House Churches in North India where the number of attendees had been around 6000-8000 had also been closed. The church members are now no longer attend services.
Please pray for the christians who now have no churches to attend and many of whom are backing out on their faith because of the pressure and threat.
STAND WITH YOUR CHURCH FAMILY IN INDIA
Open Doors church partners estimate that almost 24,000 Christians were physically attacked in India last year because of their faith. India is number 11 on the 2018 World Watch List, Open Doors’ annual ranking of the 50 countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution, its highest ever position.
Hindu extremists are stepping up their efforts to free India of Christians – so we must step up our response. Open Doors has been working through local churches and partners in India since 2000, and the work they do is already extensive, but they have a plan to double their impact and extend their reach to every corner of India over the next two years. Your long-term support can help to make that plan a reality.
Open Doors is an organization that assists and supports the persecuted church throughout the world.