India: Pastor severely beaten by police
by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – A pastor in southern India has been seriously injured by police officers who beat him up after accusing him of converting Hindus to Christianity, Open Doors USA reports.
Pastor Shekhar, whose full name and location cannot be published for security reasons, has told Christian advocacy organization Open Doors USA that he understood his ‘time of persecution’ had come when local police raided a private home where he was leading a small prayer meeting. The Pastor was accustomed to holding the meetings, which included praying for the sick and for those who need deliverance, Open Doors said.
“While we were praying, policemen came,” Pastor Shekhar said. “They stopped the meeting and started to threaten us. It was at this moment I realized that our time of persecution has come. The policemen seized our Bibles and books and threatened us; then they told us to come to the police station.”
The situation became very severe upon arrival at the police station, as the officers began to beat and torture the believers. The pastor was then separated from the others and was interrogated as to whether he had paid Hindus to become Christians. He was beaten on the back and on his feet with bamboo canes. He was hit so violently that an eardrum burst.
“I was in intense pain, swelling, sadness, fear and anxiety after that,” Pastor Shekhar said. But in the midst of this he felt the closeness of Jesus. “I got scared when I was tortured, beaten and abused by people, but in the midst of it, I remembered God’s promises: He has promised to not leave us as orphans, but will keep us and sustain us.” The police eventually released Pastor Shekhar, but not before threatening him that he and his family must leave the area.
In a website statement, Open Doors USA explains: “The persecution of Christians in India is intensifying as Hindu extremists aim to cleanse the country of their presence and influence.This is leading to a systemic, and often violent and carefully orchestrated, targeting of Christians and other religious minorities, including use of social media to spread disinformation and stir up hatred.”
Persecution against Christians has increased exponentially since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party took power in 2014.
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