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India: Attacks on the Rise

India

Prakash and the Bull
Prakash is a Hindu farmer in India. Hindu teachings tell of many gods, even though Hindus may believe in one main god. Hindus have great respect for idols of Hindu gods.

Prakash did not always behave well. Sometimes he drank a lot of liquor and got drunk. He attended Christian worship services from time to time. Perhaps he was looking for the truth and for answers to his problems.

One day, a stray bull wandered into Prakash’s field. Prakash threw a rock at the bull to scare it away. But Prakash was drunk, and he missed the bull. Instead he hit a Hindu idol standing at the edge of his field.

After the incident, about 150 radical Hindus and Indian policemen came to the village and threatened the village Christians because of Prakash’s bad aim. (Radicals are people who have extreme ideas or behavior, and who want big social changes to take place. Hindu radicals in India want Hindus to have more power.) Even though Prakesh had only occasionally attended a Christian church, the Hindus still blamed the Christians for damage to the idol. They beat up Prakash and some of the Christians.

Hindus believe all religions have truth in their teachings. But radical Hindus in India do not want other Hindus to leave their religion and follow Jesus. They sometimes attack Christians who spread the gospel and other Hindus who even think about becoming Christians.

Good Neighbors…
India is made up of 28 states and seven territories. (Source: CIA Factbook.) In some of the states, Hindus and Christians are good neighbors and friends with each other.

In March 2006, radical Hindus tried to shut down a Christian orphanage in India. Kind and caring Hindus brought food to the orphans and showed they did not agree with what the radicals were doing. The helpful Hindus knew the radicals might attack them, but they helped the Christians anyway.

…And Not So Good Neighbors
In some places in India, even the police won’t help Christians who are attacked. Hindus set up a temple near a Christian house church in October 2005. Then they complained that the Christians’ worship services were disturbing their own worship. Police let the Hindu temple stay and banned the Christians from worshipping at the house church.

The Hindus attacked three women and men who came to the house for a prayer meeting. The four Christians complained to the police, but the police would not listen. Instead they questioned the pastor and some church members to find out if they were making Hindus become Christians “by force.” Hindus in India often falsely accuse Christians of “forcing” or “bribing” people to become Christians.

Encourage Those Who Are Suffering
Jesus said to His disciples, “If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you” (John 15:20). Persecution of Christians in India has been increasing in recent years, and many Christians have suffered. Still, some who are persecuted feel alone and forgotten.

The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) brought together women and children from five families who had suffered severe persecution in different parts of India. The families shared their stories and prayed together. “I was all alone in my grief,” said one mother. “No one came to visit me. I thought I was the only one.” The women and children received strength from their time of sharing together. (One of the women and her 7-year-old daughter Preethi are shown in the photo above.)

The Bible tells us to remember Christians who are suffering. (See Hebrews 13:3.) Is there anyone you can visit or write who might be encouraged by kind words? You may not be able to visit a struggling Christian in a foreign land right now. If you practice comforting and praying with others where you are now, you will be ready if the opportunity arises someday to serve Christians in other countries.

You can also pray for the people of India now. Pray for Hindus like Prakash, who need help finding the Truth. Ask God to protect Christians who help orphans and other needy people and to comfort families who have been persecuted.

(Sources include: Compass Direct.)


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