India: Family of 5 beaten for choosing Jesus—‘You will not bring this foreign religion here’

May 23, 2020 by Lindy Lowry in Asia

For Balraj* and his family, the decision to leave their community’s Hindu roots and follow Jesus a few years ago was by far not an easy one. But ever since their decision toward faith, villagers in their remote village in India have threatened and pressured this family of five to return to Hinduism.

 

The father of three remembers verbatim the most common threat he received over the past few years: “Here we perform poojas [rituals] and worship our gods and goddesses; you will not bring this foreign religion here and you better give it up, or else we will kill you.”

But the family wasn’t prepared for the nightmare they experienced a few days ago.

As they got ready for bed, they heard the footsteps outside getting closer and looked out to see angry villagers—people they knew—shouting and carrying thick bamboo sticks. In an instant, the villagers had broken inside their house—followed by a blur of angry fists, arms, sticks, screams and blood as villagers attempted to beat all five family members into submission. As they beat them with the sticks, they shouted yelled they were kicking them out of the village.

Scared for their lives, Balraj, his wife and three kids, bleeding badly from the attacks, fled into the surrounding woods where they spent the night.

The next morning, they found their house had been ransacked. That day, the village elders called a meeting and warned the family about reporting anything to the police and threatened their lives if they continued to follow Christ.

Read why India is No. 10 on the World Watch List

Our partners in the field, Samuel* and Meena*, explain that in certain parts of India lodging a complaint with police when you’re a Christian is extremely difficult. “[Often,] the police won’t want to listen to you if you are a Christian,” Samuel says. “In fact, they can question you: ‘’Why are you trying to convert Hindus? Are you bribing Hindus to follow your religion?’ So if you go to the police or a government agency, you may experience even more persecution.”

Heena adds: “Or the police will simply tell you to make compromises: ‘You have to stay in this village and live with the other villagers. Don’t follow Jesus. Just do what everybody else does.’”

When our partners in the field reached Balraj and his family, all five members were visibly shaken. And all five were severely wounded in the attacks and hospitalized. Our ministry partners are ministering to their needs.

Pray with Balraj’s family and all believers in India

  • Please pray for physical, emotional and mental healing for Balraj and his family.
  • Pray for provision for food, water and housing. The country’s strict COVID-19 lockdown has fueled food shortages, and many Christians are not receiving government rations because of their faith. We have reports of families not able to feed their children.
  • Pray for Balraj’s children that they would see God working in their family’s pain and in the Church that brings them hope—they are the future of the Church.
  • Pray for strength and protection for Indian believers, especially in remote areas where they are not accepted by their tribe. There continues to be intense persecution during the lockdown.

representative name used for security reasons

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