Church in India braced for more violence as elections loom
There’s been a sharp rise in attacks on Christians in India so far this year – and many fear that things could get worse with a general election on the horizon.
There were 77 recorded incidents of hatred and violence against Christians in the first two months of 2019 – up from 49 cases over the same period last year, says the Religious Liberty Commission of the Evangelical Fellowship of India (RLC-EFI).
This tally includes two murders by Maoist militants last month, one in Odisha and one in Chhattisgarh. Christians fear that violence may increase now that elections have been slated to start on April 11.
Please pray for peace and protection for India’s Christians.
In many instances, Christians are being persecuted by those who should be protecting their rights. In Tamil Nadu, police have reportedly joined with Hindus going door-to-door telling Christians not to meet for worship.
And in Uttar Pradesh, Pastor Sindhu Bharti was beaten unconscious by police after they arrested her and five other church members during a Sunday service. All six Christians were charged with intent to offend religious feelings, defiling a place of worship and rioting. The RLC-EFI documented 325 incidents against Christians in India last year – with 40 per cent of attacks happening in Uttar Pradesh.
- Please pray for peace and protection for God’s people in India. Pray that God will renew in them a steadfast spirit (Psalm 51:10).
- Pray that the new Government elected this spring will take firm action to uphold religious freedom for all India’s citizens.
- Thank God for the overcoming faith of our Christian family in India. Many churches continue to spread the gospel despite warnings and threats. Pray that God’s word will touch the hearts of the persecutors.
(Source: International Christian Concern)
Please continue to pray for our Chinese family in Chengdu, Sichuan, where officials continue to persecute members of the Early Rain Covenant Church. A husband and wife in the church, named as Liu and Xing, were allegedly beaten and tortured by local police on March 2 – and when they returned to their flat, they were told they were being evicted. Chengdu officials have pressured several landlords to evict Christian tenants, including the family of church elder Su Bingsen who has been detained since December. (Source: China Aid)
Let’s keep our Pakistani sister Asia Bibi in our prayers. Release partners say Asia’s health is sound, despite reports to the contrary. Her daughter Eisham told UK media that she is appealing to the Pakistan prime minister to let her mother leave the country. Officials are still blocking Asia’s departure from Pakistan, despite her acquittal being upheld. Her family are already in Canada. (Sources: Mail on Sunday, Premier)