Sunday, January 28, 2007

Christians beaten up in Badwani, Madhya Pradesh

Christians assembled for Sunday morning devotions at the Philadelphia Church in Nawapada, Badwani were targeted by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on January 28th 2006. The shouts and screams of a Christian woman, who was one of the first to be beaten up, drew the support of the Hindu neighbors who came to the rescue of the Christians. Assembling in large numbers to defend the Christians, the Hindus forced the RSS men to withdraw from the area. However, in the skirmish three Christians, namely Bablu, Guman and Sushil, went missing.

Initially it was feared that the three had been kidnapped. After searching at length, they were found at the Badwani Police station. The RSS had got them grounded at the police station on charges of forceful religious conversions. When asked to release the young men, the Thana Inspector insisted they would not release them till the investigations were not complete. To make matters worse, the RSS men brought in two more believers whom they insisted they had found involved in conversions. Pastor Hatey Singh and Pastor Raju contacted us to intervene on their behalf.

We got in touch with the Superintendent of Police (SP) looking after Badwani, who was helpful enough to hear out the details in an impartial manner. He addressed the situation in due time, and at night by 8.30 pm all five had been released. However the updates that we have received from the Christians who were in the police station is that the SP has "forbidden" them from baptizing people from now on and has given them an instruction to take people to Gayatri Mandir whenever they want to help people i.e. helping alcoholics or praying for them.

The situation in Badwani, and the adjoining areas - Jhabua and Nimad; is increasingly being communalised. The Hindutva forces are targeting these heavily populated Christian areas to enforce their majority status. Please pray for the safety of Christians residing in Badwani, Jhabua and Nimad, that the Lord’s special hand of protection would be upon his people even as large scale Hindu gatherings are being organized to ‘reawaken’ the Hindus of the area.