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Tonight on Persecution Watch: China’s Plan to Crush Christianity

(Voice of the Persecuted) Again, we want to lift up two persecuted witnesses for the Lord and pray for Leah Sharibu and Alice that this year will be the year where they will be set free. And also pray for pastor Wang Yi to be released from Prison.

China

Population: 1.4 billion Christians 97million.

The management of religious affairs is with the Communist Party, which is also the Government. You can’t distinguish one from the other.

When president Xi Jingpin came to power he started crackdowns and persecution against Christians, in both registered and unregistered chutches. Forbid Landlords to rent to Christians for meetings. It started with CCTV monitoring, finger printing and spies. Both medical workers and teachers are not allowed to have religious affiliation. No one under 18 is allowed to attend church.

Now the Party/Government moves to total control.

A new mandate entitled “Administrative Measures for Religious Groups” has been approved by the CPC and is comprised of six chapters and 41 articles dealing with the organization, functions, offices, supervision, projects and economic administration of religious communities. The new rules also seek to ensure that religious leaders support, promote and implement total submission to the Chinese Communist Party at all times.

In addition, Article 17 specifies that all religious organizations “must spread the principles and policies of the Chinese Communist Party” in everything they do. Religious groups must also engage in “supporting the socialist system, adhering to and following the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics …,” according to the restrictions. In essence, the Chinese government is insisting the church conform to it and where Christianity and the government contradict, they require Christians to forsake their beliefs in favor of the government. The government knows this is a trap as Christians place more value on the word of God than the worldly government they are under.

Pastor Wang Yi has spoken boldly against the Chinese government and for the sake of Jesus Christ. Faithwire reports that last September “shortly before he was detained, Pastor Yi personally called on Chinese President Xi Jinping to repent of his sins and come to Jesus.” This inevitably put a giant target on Yi’s back and possibly disturbed President Jinping and his government to the point of establishing new rules against Christians.

· Pray to the Lord that He will exercise His power and bring about a change in government and that they will become open to religious liberty.
· Pray to the Lord that the authorities will be overwhelmed, flooded, drowned with so much information that they are unable to use it against Christians.
· Pray to the Lord that the electronic surveillance, spy systems will break down. Delivered garbled unusable data.
· Pray that the Lord will blind, confuse and distract the authorities that so that believers can worship together without being detected.
· Pray to the Lord for pastors and teachers that train disciple are protected, are made invisible to the authorities.
· Pray that Christians Internet messages and websites will not be blocked or shut down and will continue to minister to both believers and unbelievers.
· Pray to the Lord that He will guide and protect His believers to have courage, wisdom and boldness in reaching out to their neighbors.
· Pray to the Lord to give Christian NGOs favor that they will be invisible to the authorities and can continue to provide spiritual and other support to believers.
· Pray to the Lord that believers will love and forgive their persecutors.
· Pray to the Lord that the Christians know we are praying and standing in the gap for them.
· Pray that the Lord that in spite of the latest measures to suppress Christianity the Numbers of believers will increase beyond our wildest expectations.

Many blessings,

Andy, Prayer Moderator, Persecution Watch

Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

From any location on your phone

Time:

9:00 PM EST

8:00 PM CST

7:00 PM MST

6:00 PM PST

Call in number: 712 775-7035

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own. With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

Large-Scale Killings, Kidnappings Hit Christians in Kaduna State, Nigeria, Sources Say

Nigeria (Morning Star News) – More than 200 Muslim Fulani herdsmen have attacked predominantly Christian villages in southern Kaduna state, Nigeria since Jan. 6, killing at least 35 people and kidnapping 58 others, including a mother and her 6-month-old baby, sources said.

Armed with AK-47s, the herdsmen on motorcycles rampaged through 10 predominantly Christian villages in Chikun and Brinin Gwari counties, Christian leaders said. Traumatized people displaced by the violence, dispossessed of their farmlands and homeless, later received calls demanding thousands of dollars in ransom for the release of their relatives, they said.

“The herdsmen, or ‘bandits’ as they now call them, began their attacks on our communities on Monday, Jan. 6, killing, maiming and kidnapping members of our families without restraint by security agencies or the military,” pastor Habila Madama, a Christian leader in the affected areas, told Morning Star News. “The herdsmen have destroyed our farmlands and left us with nothing. These Muslim Fulani herdsmen will usually come with their cattle, forcefully take over our farms, and destroy crops ready for harvests.”

He appealed to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and the Kaduna state government to take steps to end the violence.

“As it is now, we don’t know where to go, what to feed on, or where do we get clothes to wear, especially for our children – and worst of all, where to lay our heads,” Pastor Madama said.

The assailants have called relatives of the 58 kidnapped people demanding 10 million naira (US$27,440) in ransom, said Jonathan Asake, president of the Southern Kaduna Peoples’ Union (SOKAPU) at a press conference at a refugee camp at Ungwar Beji, in Gonin Gora area of Chikun County.

“About 35 people have been killed by the herdsmen, while about 58 persons have also been abducted,” Asake said, noting that there are missing people still unaccounted for. “As you can see from the way these people are, they are seriously traumatized and need immediate assistance to be able to hold on. We have been told that the bandits have destroyed all the farm products of the victims and also destroyed their houses, leaving them with nothing to call their own.”

Asake said he has been told that about 8,000 people displaced by the attacks have arrived in Buruku with nothing in their possession, and that 200 people with no food, bedding or clothing had gathered at the Ungwar Beji camp.

“Worst of all, most of the children are sick,” he said. “This calls for concern on all people of good will to come to their aid in any kind in order to give them hope of survival before steps could be taken on the area of their education.”

6-Month-Old Kidnapped

On Jan. 6 in Kasso, Chikun County, the terrorists killed Eli Sule, a 35-year-old father of five children, and kidnapped a nursing mother, Ladi Yusuf, according to a press statement on Saturday (Jan. 11) from Luka Binniyat, spokesman for the SOKAPU.

“Ladi Yusuf, a nursing mother, was abducted with her 6-month-old baby,” Binniyat said. “This morning [Jan. 11], Yusuf Sule received a call from the kidnappers. They used the phone of his kidnapped brother, Bulus Sule, and called him. The kidnappers are asking for the ransom of 5 million naira.

“The brother told him that they are not in a good condition, and that the 6-month-old baby is critically sick because of the kind of condition they are being held captive in. Yusuf and the community have no means of raising that money after the bandits looted the little they had gathered, including two motorcycles Yusuf Sule owned.”

Binniyat said Danjuma Bulus, a 30-year-old father of four children, and Istifanus Auta, a 31-year-old father of three, were also killed in the attack. Bulus Sule was kidnapped along with his wife, Rebecca Sule, he said, and Yusuf Sule’s son, Irmiya Yusuf, was being treated at a medical clinic for gunshot wounds.

In Chikun County, the villages of Kuduru, Tawali, Unguwan Madaki and Katarma were attacked for five days by more than 200 herdsmen riding motorcycles and armed with AK-47s, Binniyat said.

“Information available to us has it that in Tawali village, six persons were kidnapped, and nothing has been heard of them ever since,” he said. “The ECWA [Evangelical Church of West Africa] church in the village was not spared as it was burnt down completely. Also, a young lad, by name Ezra Bala, 16, who is a student of Government College, Kwoi, was shot dead in Kuduru village during the attack.”

The gunmen on Jan. 8 attacked the Good Shepherd Major Catholic Seminary in Buwaya, kidnapping four seminarians, he said. In an attack on Badna, Guruku Ward of Chikun County, 40 people were kidnapped, including a Baptist pastor, the Rev. Samaila Yusuf, he said. Assailants also looted Rumana Gbagyi and Rumana Hausa villages, carting away livestock and other valuables, he said.

In Guruku Ward, Bademi community was ransacked and looted as the assailants killed Idi Halidu and kidnapped two other people, Binniyat said. In Unguwan Buji, they killed a person identified as Sani Buji, he said.

“In a display of brazen impunity, they kidnapped 15 people and vanished into the bushes with them,” he said. “In nearby Maloma community, the invaders robbed and ransacked the village and burnt a large quantity of rice and other grains before disappearing into the unknown. All these happened in a span of four days without any response from any security agency.”

The attacks that began Jan. 6 marked a new high in casualties following earlier attacks, rights leaders said. On Dec. 16, in Chidunu village near Maraban Rido in Chikun County, the attackers killed 40-year-old Raphael Ayuba, who was married with five children, Binniyat said. Also killed were Habila Auta, 40, who left behind a wife and two children, and Buhari Abubakar, a 41-year-old father of four.

“From available information, the armed men went from house to house killing and maiming these hapless victims with no help coming from anywhere,” Binniyat said. “The spate of killings, kidnapping, arson, looting, raping and amounts paid in ransoms to these terrorists by our communities is traumatizing and impoverishing our people on a daily basis, making them susceptible to hunger and disease.”

The Kaduna state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) estimates that Christians have paid about 400 million naira (nearly US$1.1 million) to kidnappers as of Jan. 11, Binniyat said.

“We are shocked with the way that the federal government and the government of Kaduna state seem to be overwhelmed by these cruel crimes. These defenseless victims and the affected communities are left to their own fate, in the hands of these blood thirsty militiamen,” he said. “It is sad that the same communities who are victims of these mass murders, kidnappings, arsons, lootings, rapings and other mindless evils are forced to pay their assailants huge sums to gain their freedom or that of their loved ones.”

The attackers use the ransom money to purchase more arms and enlarge their operations against the next community, he said.

“We fear that with the unchecked boldness that these heinous crimes against humanity are spreading, there is a systematic plan to wipe out our communities and take over our lands,” Binniyat said.

Those wishing to help the displaced are urged to contact the Christian Association of Nigeria (info@christianassociationofnigeria.com), the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (Asakejonathan@yahoo.com), and the Stefanos Foundation (stefanosfdn@yahoo.co.uk)

Nigeria ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution but second in the number of Christians killed for their faith, behind Pakistan.

Three Christian Teachers Killed in Northeast Kenya, Sources Say

Kenya (Morning Star News) – Somali Al Shabaab rebels killed three Christian teachers in northeast Kenya at about 2:30 a.m. on Monday (Jan. 13), sources said.

“One of the attackers said, ‘We cannot allow infidels to teach our children,’ and there and then fired at three teachers as I managed to escape through the window,” a surviving teacher told Morning Star News.

He said the attackers arrived at the primary boarding school in Kamuthe, Garissa County, as the teachers were sleeping, ordered them out of their rooms and separated out the non-local ones who had come from other parts of Kenya – assumed to be Christian as they were not ethnic Somali Muslims predominant in the region near Somalia’s border.

“The Al Shabaab knew our residential rooms,” he said. “The attack is well planned. It is a conspiracy between the Al Shabbab and the local Muslim community.”

The head teacher at the school has instructed him and other teachers not to reveal the names of the victims out of fear of retaliation from Al Shabaab. The head teacher also declined to share their names with Morning Star News.

While the identities of the three slain teachers have not been revealed, an area pastor said the victims were among four non-local teachers who attended his church after coming to the area at the start of the school year last September.

“In early September 2019, four teachers attended our Sunday worship service before proceeding to their teaching station at the Kamuthe boarding primary school,” said the pastor, who requested anonymity for security reasons. “I am very sure that the community has been monitoring the Christian faith of these teachers.”

The Islamic extremist rebels abducted a fourth teacher, the teacher who spoke with Morning Star News said.

“One of the teachers who followed me close was caught by the attackers and was carried away, and his whereabouts are not known,” he told Morning Star News. “May the Lord save him.”

Police reported that another teacher was wounded, according to The Associated Press, adding that officers reported that the abducted teacher was Muslim.

Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack on its official website on Monday (Jan. 13), Shahada.

The wounded teacher is being treated at a hospital in Garissa for gunshot wounds in the hip and leg, a source said.

The teacher who spoke with Morning Star News said he is shaken.

“I am yet to come to terms with what happened,” he said. “My heart is paining inside.”

The Islamic extremist group usually spares the lives of women and girls, and a female survivor of the attack told Morning Star News the assailants pursued only the men.

“When I saw the Al Shabaab drawing close to where I was, I only prayed to God, saying, ‘Jesus help me – God help us,’ and I was saved as the Al Shabbab pursued one of the teachers who had escaped the attack,” said the woman on condition of anonymity. “We are killed like wild animals. It is sad that when you are enjoying God’s given sleep, merciless attackers decide to take the life of innocent teachers who are serving the community’s children.”

On Dec. 6 in Wajir County, in northern Kenya, suspected members of Somali Islamic extremist group Al Shabaab intercepted a bus, separated out those who were not local ethnic Somali Muslims and executed them.

Al Shabaab, which is allied with Al Qaeda, or Al Shabaab sympathizers have killed several non-local people in northern Kenya since 2011, when Kenyan forces led an African coalition into Somalia against the rebels in response to terrorist attacks on tourists and others on Kenya’s coast. Al Shabaab militants were suspected in the killing of two Christian teachers on Oct. 10, 2018.

On April 2, 2015, 148 people at Garissa University College lost their lives in an attack by Al Shabaab, and several attacks on churches and Christians have taken place in Garissa.

Somalia’s constitution establishes Islam as the state religion and prohibits the propagation of any other religion, according to the U.S. State Department. It also requires that laws comply with sharia (Islamic law) principles, with no exceptions in application for non-Muslims.

Kenya is ranked 40th on Christian support group Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian; Somalia is ranked 3rd .

Nigerian Diocese Spokesman Confirms Bridal Party Murdered by Islamic Militants

One day after 11 Christians in Nigeria were killed by militants on Christmas (see below), all members of a bridal party, including the bride, were killed as they headed to the wedding, according to CBN.

The communications director of a Catholic Diocese in Nigeria has confirmed that Martha Bulus, a bride-to-be, and all of the members of her bridal party were murdered by suspected Boko Haram insurgents at Gwoza on Dec. 26.

Father Francis Arinse told the Catholic News Service the group was on the way to the Bulus wedding which was scheduled for Dec. 31, when they were captured and killed by Islamic militants.

“They were beheaded by suspected Boko Haram insurgents at Gwoza on their way to her country home,” Arinse told CNS. He added that Bulus used to be his parishioner at St. Augustine Catholic Church, Maiduguri, after he was first ordained.

11 Nigerian Christians on Christmas Day in Gruesome Video

Terrorists linked to the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) released a video showing the execution of 11 Christian prisoners in Nigeria.

The Associated Press reports that the video was released on Dec. 26 and the killings possibly occurred on Christmas Day.

The captives identities were not mentioned, but an earlier video revealed they had been taken from the northeastern states of Borno and Yobe, The Independent reports.

A claim was made on the video the it was a message for all Christians.

 

 

Tonight on Persecution Watch: Violence Against Christians in India

(Voice of the Persecuted) Dear Intercessors, Again, we want to lift up two persecuted witnesses for the Lord and pray for Leah Sharibu and Alice that this year will be the year where they will be set free. And also pray for pastor Wang Yi to be released from Prison.

India

Population: 1.35 billion Christians 65 million

Continued violence against Christians and churches. Since the current ruling party took power in 2014, attacks have increased, and Hindu radicals believe they can attack Christians with no consequences. As a result, Christians have been targeted by Hindu nationalist extremists more and more each year. The view of the nationalists is that to be Indian is to be Hindu, so any other faith—including Christianity—is considered non-Indian. Additionally, in some regions of the country, converts to Christianity from Hinduism experience extreme persecution, discrimination and violence.

Because radical Hindu nationalists view followers of Jesus as alien to the nation, all Christians in India are suffering persecution. Driven by a desire to cleanse their country from Islam and Christianity, nationalists do not shy away from using extensive violence to achieve their goals.

Converts to Christianity from Hinduism bear the brunt of the Christian persecution in India and are constantly under pressure by the state, their community and their families to return to Hinduism (especially via campaigns knows as ghar wapsi, which means “homecoming”). These Christians are often physically assaulted and sometimes killed.

On June 19, 2018, five Christian women (aged 20 to 35) were performing a street play in Jharkhand when they were abducted and then gang raped in a forest. Police stated that the assault was also allegedly filmed on cell phones. On January 20, 2018, the body of Pastor Gideon Periyaswamy in Adaiyalachery (Kanchipuram District, Tamil Nadu) was found hung from the thatched roof of his house, a week after he complained to police about opposition from radical Hindus.

  •     Pray for Christian converts from Hinduism who are forcefully pressured to return to their national religion.

 

  •    Pray with Christians in India for God’s provision and protection as they preach the gospel in places = the states with anti-conversion laws.

 

  •    Pray for Christian girls placed under house arrest by their families because of their faith. Pray they would be encouraged in their faith and that their families would come to know the Lord.

 

  •    Pray to the Lord that He will exercise His power and bring about a change in government and that they will be open to religious liberty.

 

  •    Pray to the Lord for that pastors and teachers that train the saints will have unhindered acces into India.

 

  •    Pray that Christians Internet messages and websites will reach deep into the Hindu communities and will encourage Christians.

 

  •    Pray to the Lord that the believers will have courage, wisdom and boldness to reach out to Hindu neighbors.

 

  •    Pray to the Lord to give NGOs favor that they will be invisible to the authorities and can continue to provide spiritual and other support to believers.

 

  •     Pray to the Lord that believers will love and forgive their persecutors.

 

  •      Pray that the Lord will build His church by adding daily to the number of believers.

 

Many blessings,

Andy, Prayer Call Moderator, Persecution Watch

Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

From any location on your phone

Time:

9:00 PM EST

8:00 PM CST

7:00 PM MST

6:00 PM PST

Call in number: 712 775-7035

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link  or App Store – iTunes

What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own. With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

 

Police in Uttar Pradesh, India, Most Harsh on Christians, Sources Say

 

Pastor taken into custody from house church in Lakhimpur Kheri District-YouTube Morning Star News

India (Morning Star News) – Police in northern India’s Uttar Pradesh state work in tandem with Hindu extremists to treat Christians and other religious minorities especially harshly, sources said.

“The UP police force is very different from the rest of India,” Dinanath Jaiswar, a volunteer with legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom-India, told Morning Star News. “They are very brash in their dealings with Muslim and Christian minorities, and there have been several cases of violence in police custody, but by God’s grace we have tried our best to reach them on time, and even while in the clutches of the enemy, God protects His people.”

From April 2017 to February 2018, India’s National Human Rights Commission registered 365 cases of judicial and custodial deaths in Uttar Pradesh, according to The Indian Express; the next highest amount was 127 cases in West Bengal state.

“It does not take long for a police officer here to lose his temper and thrash a person in custody,” Jaiswar said.

Most cases reported against police stations in several Uttar Pradesh districts fell under the categories of torture, infliction of injury and grievous hurt, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.

“It has become a trend that a batch of Hindu extremists barge inside Christian homes and accuse them of proselytizing Hindus to Christianity,” Jaiswar said. “When Christians deny the accusations and restrain them from disrupting the prayers, they use the police force to take Christians into custody.”

ADF-India personnel in Uttar Pradesh are often called to rush to police stations to try to intervene before any charges are filed, ensure that Christians are safe and work to release them as soon as possible, he added.

“UP’s legal aid team works like a Rapid Action Force,” Jaiswar said. “We aim at immediate release of pastors in custody. If police extend the custody over the night, the next morning they would file the FIR [First Information Report], and the victims will be presented before the judicial magistrate and will be sent to judicial custody.”

Obtaining bail is a lengthier process, but ADF’s Uttar Pradesh Legal Aid Cell strives to arrange for immediate release on personal bonds, he said.

Pastor Surendra Vanwasi of Jeevan Marg Trust was leading Sunday worship at a home church in Karubir village, Mau District on Nov. 17 when police arrived and took him into custody. The station house officer at Chirraiyakot Police Station “was rash and adamant,” Jaiswar said.

“Tens of requests were put before the higher ranked police officials, and only then the SHO agreed to release Pastor Vanwasi,” he said. “In the guise of enquiry police had detained him, but thankfully no charges were filed.”

Similar case of detention was reported in Mirzapur District on the same day. A church leader identified only as Pastor Khaiya from Mizoram state was invited to Uttar Pradesh to deliver a message to a congregation in Mirzapur. By noon, a mob of upper-caste Hindus and Hindu extremists had surrounded the venue, Jaiswar said.

“They slapped Pastor Khaiya and handed him to police,” he said. “When we reached Jamalpur police station, the local believers informed us that Pastor Khaiya was taken to police station like a criminal. It is a Naxalite [Maoist rebel]-belt area, and the police station in Jamalpur is specially equipped to torture Naxal suspects. The police had locked up Khaiya in an underground cell.”

The ADF team used social media and called higher officials in the district in attempts to win immediate release, he said.

“The situation turned tense as the upper-caste leaders and Hindu extremists insisted the police officers level serious allegations of forced religious conversions under stringent sections of the Indian Penal Code,” Jaiswar said. “By later that evening, the SHO had finally agreed to release Pastor Khaiya on personal bail. We were forced to give it in writing that he would not be involved in any conversion activity in future.”

Youth Pastors Jailed

Youth pastors Om Prakash, 23, and Ajay Kumar, 20, were leading a worship service at the home of Kapildev Ram in Daraura village on Nov. 25 when the village president intruded into the house and ordered the Christians to stop, sources said.

“Ram’s sons did not allow the village president and his aides to attack the youth pastors,” the youth workers’ trainer, identified only as Pastor Ramjit, told Morning Star News. “They stood as defense and did not let the person touch the pastors. This made him angry, and he went and brought the police force with him and got the pastors and also Ram arrested.”

The youth ministry sends workers to 30 village house churches in four districts in Uttar Pradesh on weekdays. Leaders had sent Prakash and Kumar to Daraura village on Nov. 25, and the next day Ranipur police registered an FIR against them and Ram alleging promotion of enmity between religious groups, deliberately hurting religious sentiments, inducement by rendering an object of divine displeasure and other charges.

Lower court and District Sessions judges rejected their bail pleas. ADF-India’s attorneys have filed a bail petition in the High Court at Allahabad.

Ranipur Station House Officer Ashok Kumar Yadav noted in the Hindi-language case diary that neighbors were disturbed when the mob formed at Ram’s home.

“Our police team had reached it on time and urged them to disperse immediately,” Yadav wrote. “As our attempts to restore peace in the area had failed, we had to arrest the pastors to bring the situation under control.”

Pastor Ramjit said the youth pastors are facing mistreatment from heavy brutes in the district prison.

“When I visited them last week, they told me that under-trial prisoners in murder cases had put up fight and abused our boys in filthy language,” Pastor Ramji told Morning Star News. “They seem very frightened. Both their marriages have been set for summer, and their fiancées and families have been waiting for their release.”

‘You May Arrest Me’

When a mob of no fewer than 60 Hindu nationalists armed with hockey sticks stormed into a Christian’s home in Ghaziabad city, which straddles both Uttar Pradesh state and Delhi National Capital Region, and beat the homeowner and the pastor leading a Bible study, officers from Loni police station took both Christians into custody.

The assailants also vandalized the homeowner’s furniture, said Sanjay Mcgee of Indian Christian Assembly (Bharatiya Masih Mahasabha).

As it was late at night, Christians feared police would hold pastor Jagdish Marotiya and the homeowner overnight and charge them in the morning, Mcgee said. A Christian leader from the Delhi National Capital Region, Minakshi Singh, rushed to the police station and was there until midnight trying to persuade officers not to be misled by Hindu extremists.

“We had enough evidence of videos and photographs of the destruction the armed men had caused, and I was trying to reason with the officials as to why had not they taken any action against the assailants, and why the victims had been detained,” Singh told Morning Star News. “The argument went on for a very long time, and finally at midnight the police agreed release the Christians.”

In the area, called Bharat Nagar Society, about 25 Christian families refrained from putting stars outside their homes during Christmas season, terrified that they would be identified as Christians and targeted by Hindu fanatics, Mcgee said.

“When I visited the area on Dec. 3 after the attack on the home, there were security guards everywhere, and they stopped us from entering the colony,” he said. “I asked the guards where were they when a resident’s house was vandalized two days before, but they denied the attack. An elderly female member of the home church there told us that police had threatened [the homeowner’s] family not to pursue a case against the assailants.”

Good Shepherd Church in the Trilokpuri area came under attack a week before. On the second day of a three-day convention the church had organized, Nov. 23, more than 100 members of the Hindu extremist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh surrounded the site chanting, “Go back! Go back!” Singh told Morning Star News.

Higher police officials from the Mayur Vihar station reached the venue and ordered that the gathering must cease in order to restore peace, she said.

“As soon as I received this information, I rushed to Trilokpuri and met the assistant commissioner of police and told him that it is our constitutional right to pray to our God,” she told Morning Star News. “But the police official told me that it is not possible to let you continue Christian prayers, saying, ‘Who will take responsibility if the situation turns hostile?’ I told him that I will take the responsibility, ‘You may arrest me, but the convention should go on.”’

After long discussions on Nov. 23 and Nov. 24, police allowed them to continue as long as they refrained from using the sound system, Singh said. More than 200 policemen were deployed, and barricades were installed on four sides of the church building, she said.

“A mob of at least 200 Hindu extremists showed up outside the church premises and were shouting to the top of their lungs, ‘Har Har Mahadev [Shiva is everywhere],” she said. “We told the police that our people would remain calm, and there will not be any problem from our side, and you please control the mob outside the premises.

“By God’s grace, the final day of the convention was a success. The police also had the chance to hear the gospel and joyfully joined us for the meal after the prayer service.”

pastor prays with ADF-India team after his release from jail in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh, India in November 2019. (Morning Star News)

India is ranked 10th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. The country was 31st in 2013, but its position has been worse each year since Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014.

Pray for Leah Sharibu #FreeLeah

This teenage girl still suffers as a captive of the Islamic Boko Haram group in Nigeria. They call her an infidel, an unbeliever, beneath them and deserving of punishment. They say she will be their ‘slave for life’.

Why, what has she done? In the face of evil, this young girl refuses to recant her faith in Christ and convert to Islam…come what may.

Our ‘sister’ is in chains for Christ. Pray as if you were held captive with her, as you would want others to pray for you. #FreeLeah #Pray4Leah

U.S. calls on China to release jailed Early Rain church founder Wang Yi

 

Pastor Wang Yi of Early Rain Covenant Church—Facebook

The South China Morning Post reported that the U.S. State department was alarmed at the pastor’s secret trial which ended with a 9-year sentence for inciting subversion.

‘Another example of Beijing’s intensification of repression of Chinese Christians and members of other religious groups.’

The United States called for the immediate release of Pastor Wang Yi, whom the article describes as from one of China’s best-known unregistered churches.

Yi is the lead pastor of Early Rain Covenant Church with 500 members. However, the report claims the church attracts more than 800 people each week at more than a dozen meeting points around Chengdu. Read full report

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