Christian women and children were dragged through a village by a raging mob of over 40 religious fanatics on the 19th of June 2020. This act of religious racism took place in Charabari, a village in the district of North 24 Paraganas in West Bengal, India. Pr.T. A.Paul, the President of Berachah Faith Mission told Persecution Relief that the mob had gone to Pr. BiswambarMunda’s home to attack him, but when they found no male members present at home, they vehemently pulled the women and children out of the house and dragged them to the local club. “The women and children of the family had to endure insults and threats at the club” he said.
Speaking to Persecution Relief from an undisclosed location, Pastor Biswambar said a few of the fanatics went back to his home while the mob were trying to make his wife-Anima, forsake Christianity. “They desecrated a cross that was on my wall by smearing it with mud and then loudly threatened to blow up my home with a bomb. They shouted ‘we would have killed him, had we found him today’” he said some of the neighbours heard them say.
“Normally, every Friday I wake up to fast and pray, but that morning I felt a voice urge me to leave the house. So, picking up my bag, I told my wife that I was going out and would return later. It was only later that I realized it was God who told me to leave, when my wife called me up and told me what had happened” said the Pastor.
Pastor Biswambar and Anima belong to the Munda tribe and have two children, a son (14) and a daughter (9). He presently lives with his extended family, all of whom are Christians. He has been serving with the Berachah Faith Mission for the past one year, Pr. T.A.Paul told Persecution Relief.
“The local people have been hurling threats, abusive words, mockery etc on this family whenever they would venture out. A couple of weeks back, a mob of religious fanatics conspired to beat up Biswambar and took him to the ‘Charabari AdibashiJubo Songho’ club to threaten him, but this time the level of persecution was at a different intensity altogether’ added Pr.T.A.Paul.
Pr. Biswambar told Persecution Relief that there are around 30 Christians in this village. He regularly gathers them to pray at his sister-Savitri Munda’s home. The Church has been meeting together for the past one year. “They have threatened us to leave the village by Tuesday the 23rd of June 2020” he said. Pr. UjjwalDeb, a local Christian leader, alerted Persecution Relief about this incident.
The Berachah Faith Mission that Pr. Biswambar serves with is a church planting mission that serves in six districts of West Bengal. “We have been facing persecution in almost all the places wherever we have been conducting prayer fellowships, especially over the past 3 months” said Pr. T.A.Paul.
In the 1st Quarter of 2020, we recorded 187 cases. Between 1st Quarter of 2016 to 1st Quarter of 2020, there has been a rise of 128.04 % of Hate Crimes against Christians all across the country. In 2019 alone, Persecution Relief has recorded the maximum number of 527 cases compared to 447 cases in 2018, 440 in 2017 and 330 in 2016. From January 2016 to March 2020, Persecution Relief has recorded 1961 cases of Hate crimes against Christians in India.
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has downgraded India to the lowest ranking, ‘Countries of Particular Concern’(CPC) In its 2020 report. ranked India’s persecution severity at “Tier 2” along with Iraq and Afghanistan. Over the past seven years, India has risen from No. 31 to No. 10 on Open Doors’ World Watch List, ranking just behind Iran in persecution severity.
Shibu Thomas is the Founder of Persecution Relief Email: firstname.lastname@example.org