Pastors arrested in Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh police arrested two pastors in connection with the sale of the book “Secularism and Hindutva” said to hurt the religious sentiments of the Hindus on February 19 in Annupur. (See EFI Persecution Reports from Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, Jan 21, Police summon pastor for enquiry in Madhya Pradesh)
According to an EFI correspondent, Rev. Akhilesh Edgar, the police took Pastor Kailash Masih of Dhanpuri area to Cha chai police station at about 9 a.m. on February 19, arrested him under Section 295(A) of the Indian Penal Code for ‘ deliberate and malicious acts to outrage religious feelings’. He was sent to Shahdol Jail the same day.
Pastor Sharda Prasad Muthel of Amlai area was taken to Cha Chai police station at about 9 a.m. on February 19. The police interrogated and released him at about 11 p.m. He was summoned back to the police station at 9 a. m. on February 20. After questioning, he was released without any charge at about 8 p.m.
A case dairy was produced against Rev. Paulose Venkatarao, organiser of the Christian convention on Jan 16-18 where the book was said to have been sold. The pastor was arrested under Section 295 (A) of the Indian Penal Code on February 25. He was sent to Shahdol jail the same day.
Bail was granted by Sessions Court, Shahdol on February 26. The pastors were released on February 27.
Please pray for Madhya Pradesh and for continued thriving ministries of the pastors.
Hindu extremists attack prayer meeting
Hindu extremists disrupted a prayer meeting, accused the Christians of forceful conversion and beat them up on February 23 in Bouripara, Ambikapur, Chhattisgarh.
The Rev. Akhilesh Edgar, an EFI correspondent reported that about 30 believers attended the prayer meeting conducted by Pastor Joseph Toppa at the house of a believer identified as Pameshwar Lakda.
At about 7 p.m. extremists allegedly from the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), Dharm Sena and Dharm Jagran Manch stormed the house, accused the Christians of forceful conversion, started beating them up and damaged their motorcycles.
Police arrived at the spot after sometimes and took 30 Christians to the police station.
The police took the statements of the Christians. With the intervention of the local and other leaders of EFI, the believers were released at around 11:30 p.m.
It was reported that the situation is tense in the area. No FIR was registered.
Please pray for religious tolerance in Chhattisgarh. The state witnessed numbers of anti- Christian violence of late.
Believer attacked in Himachal Pradesh
Hindu extremists armed with sticks allegedly assaulted a believer for being a Christian on February 26 in Damtal, Kangra, Himachal Pradesh.
According to an EFI correspondent, Rev. Goerge Masih , a believer identified as Joginder Masih went to a local shop to purchase some goods when a group of extremists follow him to the shop and verbally abused Christianity.
Masih requested the extremists not to elicit such abused but in turn he was mercilessly beaten up by them. The believer suffered minor injuries.
It was reported that the extremists were primarily against the church construction carried on by Masih and some believers in the area and that the attacked was pre- planned.
Police complaint was lodged but no FIR has been registered.
Please pray for Masih and that the area Christians will continue to build the church peacefully.
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