February 20, 2009:
Chhattisgarh police arrested 11 pastors from the Believers’ Church under Chhattisgarh Freedom of Religion Bill on February 17 in Fatakpur, Sarguja, Chhattisgarh.
According to an EFI correspondent, Rev. Akhilesh Edgar, Hindu extremists allegedly led by Local Bharatiya Janata Party MLA (Member Legislative Assembly) Renuka Singh, disrupted a Christian Revival Meeting organised by the local church.
The meeting was conducted with prior permission of the police and the civil administration.
The extremists arrived at the meeting at around 7:30 p.m., accused the pastors of forceful conversion, beat them up, tore the Bibles, banners and damaged the sound system.
After several calls made by the Christian leaders, the police reached the spot at about 11:00 p.m. and took the 11 pastors to the police station for security measure but registered a case against them.
The pastors were released on bail on February 18.
Names of the pastors arrested with their places of ministry:
01. Suleman Toppo - Monsukh - Distt. Korea (Baikunthpur)
02. Nandlal Khakha - Fatakpur - Distt. Sarguja (Ambikapur)
03. Arun Kujur - Pandaripani - Distt. Jashpur
04. Kamesh Tirkey - Pahadhanswahi - Distt. Korea (Baikunthpur)
05. Nainpal Kindo - Distt. Korea (Baikunthpur)
06. Silas Kerketta - Distt. Korea (Baikunthpur)
07. Shivlal Lakda - Distt. Raigarh
08. Samrat Kujur - Distt. Raigarh
09. Avinash Kerketta - Chhirupara - Distt. Sarguja (Ambikapur)
10. Juel Tirkey - Fatakpur - Distt. Sarguja (Ambikapur)
11. Sajan Khess –Korea Distt. (Baikunthpur)
Please pray for the pastors and for their ministries. Also pray for more religious tolerance in Chhattisgarh.
Rev. Dr. Richard Howell
Evangelical Fellowship of India
New Delhi, India
Evangelical Fellowship of India (established 1951) is a charter member of World Evangelical Alliance, an accredited NGO with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations