Pastors in India beaten and jailed simply for praying in their own homes
Evangelicals in India are calling on Christian leaders in the UK to pressure the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit this week to intervene to help persecuted Christians in India.
Christians are being beaten and killed in India and the influence of hardline Hindus has increased since Modi’s government was elected in summer last year, according to the charity Open Doors.
Vijesh Lall, secretary of the Freedom and Development Commission of the Evangelical Fellowship of India, told Christian Today: “The situation has deteriorated in the north. It is not just Christians. It is other minorities and civil society being affected as well.”
Protesters in Mumbai hold placards during a rally by hundreds of Christians against attacks on churches nationwide. Five churches in New Delhi had just suffered incidents of arson, vandalism and burglary.
He described one incident where Christian pastors were beaten and jailed simply for praying together in a private house.
“The Christians on the ground are fearful and have been for quite some time. People used to attack Christians if they evangelised on the street. Now Christians are not even safe if they are praying in their own homes.
“In one incident not long ago about 35 kilometres from Delhi, 13 pastors were gathered in the house of another pastor. They were praying. It was prayer meeting. There was no preaching or evangelising. They were attacked and beaten. They were taken to the police station where they were told: ‘This is a Hindu nation. Your kind of prayers are not allowed.’ They were released later that day after many hours in custody.”
He conceded that the Modi had on at least two different occasions said everyone in the country will have freedom of religion. “But nothing seems to be happening on the ground.”
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