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Christian Prayer Gathering Terrorized by Radicals in India

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India– According to the Union of Catholic Asia News (UCAN), a Christian prayer gathering in India was recently terrorized by a group of radical Hindu nationalists. Reports claim the radicals falsely accused the Christians of conducting illegal religious conversions to justify their attack.

Yesterday, January 26, more than 100 radical Hindu nationalists broke into a Christian media center in Indore, a city located in India’s Madhya Pradesh state, to terrorized Christians gathered for a prayer meeting. The radicals accused the Christians of violating Madhya Pradesh’s newly enacted anti-conversion law as justification for their actions.

The Catholic authorities who own the Christian media center describe the incident as an attack on Christians peacefully gathered for prayers.

“We give our space in the center to different Christian denominations, including Pentecostal groups, for prayer meetings,” Father Babu Joseph, the center’s director, told UCAN. “On January 26 too, we gave it to a Pentecostal group for holding the prayer service.”

While no Christians were injured in the incident, Father Joseph reports that many are shaken. The radicals shouted anti-Christian slogans and damaged several pieces of property as they terrorized the Christians gathered for prayer.

Police were notified of the incident and have registered charges against 15 people for trespass. An investigation into the incident has been launched.

On January 9, the state government of Madhya Pradesh enacted a new anti-conversion law which it touted as the most stringent in India. Since then, many radical Hindu nationalists have been encouraged to harass Christians and shut down their places of worship.
Sources:persecution

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Indian Pastor Bound and Beaten for Refusal to Contribute to Tribal Rituals

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India – According to Morning Star News, a pastor in India’s Jharkhand state was bound and publicly beaten by fellow villagers after he refused to contribute funds to the ritual worship of tribal deities. Despite this intense persecution, the pastor remained steadfast in his faith.

On January 24, Pastor Lakshman Oraon was called before the elders of Jungur village, located in the Latehar District of Jharkhand. The elders of the village demanded he contribute funds to the ritual worship of the village’s tribal deities. When he refused, his arms were tired behind his back and he was beaten.

“When they tied me and started kicking me, I was not at all angry,” Pastor Oraon told Morning Star News. “The Lord reminded me of the verses in Matthew 5:11-12. I received great strength from these words. There was a smile on my face all through.”

After the beating, village elders threatened to excommunicate Pastor Oraon and the other Christians of the village if they continued to refuse to contribute to the tribal rituals.

Facing expulsion, Pastor Oraon reached out to the Alliance Defending Freedom India (ADF). ADF contacted the local police station. Officers called Pastor Oraon and the village elders to the station to work out the situation.

“At the police station, we were asked to give the money, and we gave it,” Pastor Oraon told Morning Star News. “We are praying for the salvation of village leaders and the devotees of tribal deities. The police assured us that they will be a phone call away if any problem arises, and that we will not face any troubles from the villagers after giving the money.”
Sources:persecution

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Overseas Indians need permission for missionary, tabligh activities

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Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card-holders will need special permission if they want to take up any missionary, Tabligh or journalistic activities, the Home Ministry has said in rules for overseas Indians seeking visas.

Those with OCI cards who want to take up these activities will need special permission from the Foreign Regional Registration Office (FRRO).

Overseas Indians will also need permission to take up any research work, an internship with foreign missions or if they need to visit areas designated as restricted or protected.

The OCI cardholders have to inform the FRRO if there is a change in address.

According to sources in the Home Ministry, all the rules were part of the ‘brochure’ published by it on November 15, 2019, and have now been consolidated and notified.

What has raised questions in the new rules are that activities like Tabligh – a religious sect – and journalism have been mentioned in the same breath.

The Tablighi Jamaat was in sharp scrutiny after multiple coronavirus cases across the country were traced to their religious gathering in Delhi in March last year when the pandemic was spreading across the world.

In December, a Delhi court acquitted 36 foreigners charge-sheeted over the Tablighi Jamaat congregation. The passports of these visitors had been seized.

Amid a huge controversy as allegations of the gathering becoming a Covid super-spreader took on religious tones, petitions asked the Supreme Court to act against the media for “spreading hatred” over the Tablighi meet at Markaz Nizamuddin.
Sources:Inquest News

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