Saturday, September 29, 2007

GFA Students beaten up

Sources: Gospel for Asia, Assist News Service

Six Gospel for Asia Bible college students were assaulted Saturday, Sept. 15, by anti-Christian extremists while they passed out literature and shared the gospel in western India's Gujarat state. The extremists accused the students of trying to convert people to Christianity. Gujarat is home to some of the most vocal anti-Christian extremist groups in India.
The state also has an anti-conversion law which severely limits the ability of its citizens to leave the country's traditional religions. During the attack, the extremists also seized and burned the gospel tracts, Bibles and other books the students were carrying. Then they took the students to the police station. One student managed to escape during the scuffle and went to get help from GFA leaders at the college.
When the leaders made it back to the police station, they found that the students had been released, and no charges had been filed. The students suffered only minor bruises as a result of the attack and praised the Lord that they were released without any additional problems.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Church attacked in Chhattisgarh

September 23’ 2007

Name of the victim : Pastor Praduman Meshram

Family of the victim : Wife - Nurse in a government hospital of a nearby village, Daughter - 7 yrs, Son - 4 yrs.

Church : Salvation Prayer Tower is a growing church amidst difficult circumstances. Pastor Praduman cooperates with EFI Chhattisgarh and has recently applied for life membership. The church was started in 1999.

Organization : Uddhar Samaj Sevi Sanstha

Location : Sanjay Nagar, Kanker, Chhattisgarh, India. There has been much persecution of the Christians in last three years in Kanker town. Villages of Kanker district are heavily under influence of naxalism.
Incident :

Date - September 23'2007

Time - 11:30 AM

Pastor Praduman Meshram was leading the regular Sunday worship of the church, in a small hall adjoining the house of a believer, which is being used as the church building. Worship service started at 10 AM. There were about 30 women, 15 children and 10 men in the congregation. Most of them were believers from non Christian background.

At about 11:30 AM, about 20 youth belonging to local Bajrang Dal stormed into the church. They forcibly took Pastor Praduman Meshram out and started beating mercilessly. Local congregation specially women immediately came forward to protect their pastor.

Motorcycle of the pastor was also badly damaged. Meanwhile someone from the congregation informed the local police, which reached the spot in about 15 minutes. All assailants fled from the place as soon as police arrived.

Pastor and believers were taken to the police station. Complaint was lodged against the assailants and statements of the pastor and six sisters of the church were recorded. Pastor was taken to the government hospital for medical check up.

He sustained many injuries, specially  in the chest and thighs. He was discharged from the hospital after preliminary treatment. All of them were released from the police station at about 9PM.

No FIR has been registered so far.

Please uphold the pastor and the congregation before the Throne of Grace.

Respectfully submitted by,


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Allahabad HC judge wants Gita to be national holy book

Aasim Khan / CNN-IBN

Tuesday , September 11, 2007

New Delhi: " It is the duty of every citizen of India under Article 51-A of the Constitution of India, irrespective of caste, creed or religion, to follow dharma as propounded by the Bhagvad Gita".

This is not a chorus by any Saffron brigade, but the pronouncement of a judge of the Allahabad High Court . Justice S N Srivastava made this observation on August 30, while hearing a case filed by Shyamal Ranjan Mukherji, a priest at the Gopal Thakur Mandir in Varanasi.

Says Allahabad High Court lawyer, Krishna Shukla, "The Bhagavad Gita was an inspiration to all who took part in the struggle for India's independence and the preachings in the holy book are for the common man, and not for any particular caste or creed."

The saffron brigade however insists that the judgement has nothing to do with the judge's religion. Says member Vishwa Hindu Parishad, B P Singhal, "He has justice in his mind, not as a Hindu, but as a judge."

However if one looks back at the track record of S N Srivastava , there are other controversies as well. On April 5 this year, he had ruled that Muslims were not a minority group in Uttar Pradesh. The order was, however, stayed the very next day by a division bench of the High Court.

His ode to dharma came at the very end of his career, just five days before retirement.

Says columnist Saeed Naqvi, "The Bhagvad Gita is a part of India's culture but they are trying to make it a religious text."

In the words of the judge, if we can have a national bird, we might as well have a national holy book too. But then, are such sweeping statements appropriate for a custodian of the law, in a secular republic?

(With inputs from Abhishek Patni in Lucknow)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Indian Christian Employees Persecuted in Saudi Arabia

SAUDI ARABIA (ANS) -- Seventeen Indian Christian employees are under house arrest and have been suffering severe persecution at a water company in Asir province in Saudi Arabia since August 15.

This information was revealed by Manoj of Kerala State, who escaped from the Saudi company and managed to get back to India, says a report from Salem Voice Ministries News Service.

They don't even get proper food and needed treatment, he said.

"There were 22 youth selected and sent to Saudi Arabia by a recruiting agency for the posts of driver come salesmen during the last week of April, 2007. The company offered them eight hours duty per day, good salary, and flight charges from India," Manoj told Salem Voice Ministries (SVM) News Service.

"But the company did not keep the promises, because the employees were Christians. They did not pay back their flight charges either," Manoj continued. "Employees were told to work in the company 18 hours per day without any rest. They were treated as slaves. Company authorities did not want to consider them even as domestic animals," Manoj said with tears.

According to SVM News Service, Manoj became sick during that time, but the company did not sanction him leaving. Manoj became worse and his friends took him to the hospital. That action provoked the company authorities and they started more persecution of the other Christian employees and put them under house arrest.

"They hardly get proper food in the custody. When they are being provided some food, Arabian people are spitting on it and giving them to eat," SVM News Service said.

When Manoj became seriously ill, the company sent him back to India without giving him a salary and allowances. Manoj told SVM News that he did not have a single coin with him. He sent a missed call to his brother, so that his brother called back from his mobile and learned that Manoj was arriving back in India and went and picked him up from Trivandrum airport.

Ronald Alex from Iritty in Kannur district was one among those 22. "He regularly used tp speak to us from Saudi Arabia by phone. But since August 15 we did not receive any call from him. So we enquired and found he is under police custody,"

Ronald's father Baby and mother Gracy told Paul Ciniraj, the director of Salem Voice Ministries.

Another young man, Jose Chacko, son of Chacko and Mariamma from Iritty in Kannur district fears arrest by Saudi police and is in hiding in a Keralite's home.

By Michael Ireland
ASSIST News Service

Click here for source

Polls in the air, UPA brings Muslim quotas on the table

Jayanth Jacob / D K SINGH

Posted online: Wednesday, September 05, 2007 at 0000 hrs IST

New Delhi, September 4

Sensing the inevitability of mid-term elections sooner rather than later, the UPA government is believed to be working out reservation benefits for Muslims and Christians. The plan is to bring a “sub-quota” for Muslims within the existing 27 per cent OBC quota and to include Christian and Muslim Dalits in the Scheduled Castes List.

This comes along with fast-tracking a slew of measures: implementation of the Justice Rajinder Sachar committee’s recommendations on minority welfare, legislation for unorganized sector workers and a more humane relief and rehabilitation policy.

Highly placed sources in the Congress have told The Indian Express that the government plans to issue an “executive order” to provide for a sub-quota for Muslims. Although a section of backward Muslims do get this benefit in the OBC category, their share in the reservation pie is minuscule. The Muslims, it is being argued, will stand to gain “substantially” in terms of their share if a sub-quota were to be created within the existing quota. And as they will be eligible for this benefit on the basis of social and educational backwardness, it will also circumvent existing court rulings against reservation on religious grounds.

Sources said the sub-categorisation of communities under OBC quota on the basis of relative backwardness had been recommended by the National Commission for Backward Classes over a decade ago but successive governments have been sitting on it.

Sources said the government is also working out ways to include Muslim and Christian Dalits in the SC List — a matter which is at present in the Supreme Court. The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order 1950 originally restricted the SC list to Hindus but was later opened to Sikhs and Buddhists; it still excludes Muslims and Christians from its purview.

Tahir Mahmoud, member of the National Commission on Religious and Linguistic Minorities headed by Justice Ranganath Mishra, told The Indian Express that this could not be done via an executive order.

“The First List (Constitution Order 1950) was made in the name of the President of India on behalf of the government of India. But it is provided in the Constitution that any amendment to this 1950 Order could be done by Parliament only,” he said.

This comes shortly after the UPA announced a string of measures for minority welfare in Parliament last week in the wake of the Justice Rajendra Sachar committee’s recommendations.

Click here for source

Christian converts cease to be Indians

Durban: A Hindu religious leader in South Africa has caused a storm within the Indian community by saying that those who convert to Christianity will "lose their right to be Indian".

Thillayvel Naidoo, an executive member of the South African Hindu Maha Sabha and a Tamil linguist, made the remarks after a Christian convert, Deena Muthen, urged people to maintain their language and culture even if they convert.

Muthen, who is now a pastor practising in the large Indian-dominated residential township of Chatsworth in Durban, told his congregation that they should be proud of their rich language and culture.

But Naidoo said Muthen's comments were "tricks" to entice gullible people to convert to Christianity.

"Those who reject their religion lose the right to be completely Indian. He (Muthen) is distracting people with his Tamil preaching and hymns. Just because he preaches in Tamil does not mean anything, and I condemn it," he said.

However, Muthen, a former Hindu priest, rejected the assertion saying he made the comments because there was hunger for Indian culture and language among Indian Christians.

"I have been urging churches to become more culturally involved. People desire to know their heritage, and we can teach them Tamil. There is a lack of knowledge among Christian Indians, but this does not mean that we are not Indian or less than Indian," he said.

Click here for source

Priest arrested in Mumbai

By James Varghese
Special to ASSIST News Service
MUMBAI (BOMBAY), INDIA (ANS) -- Bajrang Dal activists handed over to Mumbai police a church father on charges of "forcible conversion" on Sunday, August 26.
According to a report carried on, an Indian Hindu web news portal, Fr. Edward was offering false promises of monetary help, foreign jobs, taking care of children etc. The site also claimed that Fr. Edward converted 40 "gullible Hindu families."

The Bajrang Dal activists told hindujagruti news, "The converted families were poor and hailed from the Bhyandar, Jogeshwari and Andheri areas in Mumbai City."
Their story alleged that "taking advantage of their poverty, Fr. Edward asked them to assemble at Vidyavikas School in Andheri where a mass was to be conducted on every Sunday and from there, they were taken to Juhu Beach to participate in program of conversion and only after which they were to be offered certain facilities.

"Once the people got there, the Father asked them to take a dip in the sea so as to purify them. Later, he started making statements like 'Your God is a devil. Only Jesus is the true Lord.'"

Seeing the priest doing this kind of an activity the Bajrang Dal activists caught hold of the Father and took him to Santa Cruz police station and lodged a complaint against him. After due enquiry, police filed a case against the Church Father and kept him in custody at D. N. Nagar police station. He was booked under Section 295-A and 508 for "deceit and bribery," by the police. He will be presented in Andheri Court for hearing.

Bajrang Dal is sometimes translated as "Monkey Brigade" and is the youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), and one of its family of organizations (Sangh Parivar) based on the core ideology of Hindutva (Hindu nationalism).

Assist News Service

New Believers Open Prison Doors for Pastor's Release

BILASPUR, INDIA (ANS) -- A beaten pastor awaits his fate under police custody. Pastor Palakar from Chhattisgarh was assaulted and accused of converting a nearby village. During his interrogation, the whole village flooded the prison, requesting the release of Pastor Palakar. However, the investigator questioned their intent in wanting this pastor released.

"When we were in trouble, no one helped us except this pastor," one of them said. "No one even cared for us, but this man brought joy, peace, and love to our families. We want you to release him or arrest all of us because we are all followers of Jesus."

They released the pastor and the church is growing even more in their commitment as Christ followers.

But still, divine appoints occur when people stand up for the truth. Such phenomena are occurring through Hindustan Bible Institute (HBI), which exists to give every Indian an opportunity to hear, understand, and respond to the Gospel. Their ultimate goal is discipleship. Their God-sized purpose is inspiring; and it is becoming a reality.

Four thousand individuals are being trained up per year through HBI's leadership and discipleship training programs, so that for every 1000 Indian people in each people group will have a dynamic transformational church.

"God continues to network us into various parts of our nation. We believe by the year 2020, we will be strategically distributed to reach every people group of our nation," as stated in the President and Director's 2007 Annual Report.

Dr. N. Paul V. Gupta's initial vision and passion began in 1952. His strategy was to reach the unevangelized by equipping one Indian to reach another Indian for Christ, so he established Hindustan Bible Institute in Chennai, India. Today, his son, Dr. Paul (Bobby) Gupta, carries this zeal and strategy forward with amazing results.
Just in the last 12 months, 396 churches were planted where no church previously existed. Services may have up to 35,000 people, who worship for three to four hours in the sweltering heat. In 1985, India had about 114,000 churches. Currently over 500,000 worshipping communities gather in homes, worship centers, preaching points, new church plants, and church
buildings. Pray for HBI as they share the liberating Truth throughout India.