Rising persecution sparks protest during Indian leader’s White House visit
Originally published in Persecution.org
Christian families were beaten by villagers, forced to take part in Hindu rituals and had the water for their crops cut off in one of a growing number of incidents of persecution being reported from India in recent times.
The incident happened on April 25, in Jalalabad village, Ghazipur District in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, where a mob led by the village president and his advisers beat up a group of Christians with sticks.
Pushpa Kumari, one of the victims, said the mob forced them to eat basil leaves and drink water from the Ganges River that was considered holy.
They were also made to deny Christ. At least 13 young Christians caved in to pressure and reconverted back to Hinduism. The four couples who refused were beaten up and their water supply was also cut off, leaving their crops exposed to temperatures reaching 40C.
During a confrontation at the police station, the victims were accused of forcibly converting Hindus to Christianity. One of the victims, Manoj Kumar, denied this, saying the Christians just gathered at his house on Sundays as they were unable to go to town for worship.
Christians charged with attempted forced conversion
Meanwhile Persecution.org reports that six Christians arrested last month in Madhya Pradesh state have been charged with kidnapping and attempted forced conversions for attempting to take 72 children to a vacation bible school.
Local Christians claim the situation has been perpetrated by local Hindu radicals seeking to harass the Christian community.
Sources told Morning Star News in a report published on June 23 that along with the six Christians, a 15-year-old boy was also held in a juvenile detention center for nearly a month, before finally being released last week.
“I missed my home so much — I cried every day, and prayed and prayed,” Akash Gundia said. “Finally, the Lord heard me. I am happy to be back home.”
Gundia was reportedly one of the 72 children detained by Ratlam Railway Police on May 21, as they travelled to the VBS camp in Nagpur. Eight supervisors were also arrested, and despite explanations that all the children had Christian parents, they were accused of trying to convert the children.
Authorities claimed at the time that the parents hadn’t followed the proper procedures in converting to Christianity, and insisted that the children will be treated as Hindus under the law.
White House protest
The persecution problem in India was highlighted on Monday when Christians and other religious minorities from the nation waved flags and chanted as India Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived at the White House for a meeting with President Donald Trump, reports Persecution.org
“We’re here today basically to raise awareness of the human rights violations that are happening with India,” Jatinder Grewal, director of Sikhs for Justice told CBN News.
Over the past few years under Modi’s rule, conditions for Sikhs, Christians and other religious minorities have grown difficult.
“When Modi came into power in 2014 he promised the Christians and other minorities that he would allow freedom of religion, he lied,” declared Pastor Rob Rotola, who also protested outside the White House.
“The only people that have favoured status in India is not all people; it’s the Hindu nationalist,” he said. “It’s the far extremist party that tends to violence. And as these groups have ramped up the violence, the police state and the government looks the other way, and is allowing it to happen.”
White House officials have said the president likes to deal with delicate matters like human rights and religious liberty violations in private when speaking to world leaders. However, it’s unclear if the president raised any concerns during his meetings with Modi.