A Christian family was chased away after their home was demolished by local religious fanatics in Chhattisgarh. The fanatics made this move although the family holds all legal documents of ownership of the said property.

“*Bhushan, *Bani, and their three children used to live in a 7×9 sq. ft room which belonged to *Bhushan’s parents. When the family accepted Christianity in 2013, Bhushan’s parents asked them to leave” said *Pr. Dev, the pastor of the family.

Speaking to Persecution Relief about the incident, the Pastor explained that ever since the family turned to Christianity, they have been persecuted by their family and local religious fanatics. “They have been members of my Church since 2015” he added.

“Bhushan’s parents allowed them to live on a property in the same village, that was allotted to them by the Indira Gandhi led government, as part of a family planning initiative,” said the Pastor.

“The family had almost completed the construction work on their property when a few religious fanatics led by a prior Sarpanch (village head man) of the village came and demolished the building saying that they had plans to build an Anganwadi(kindergarten) there,” said the Pastor.

A Persecution Relief representative, who spoke to the family said that the fanatics not only broke down the house but also chased them away, saying they couldn’t live there. “The ex-headman instigated the villagers saying that the family would start a Church there if the village allowed them to stay” he added.

Homeless and helpless, the family found a small vacant place around 1.5 km away from the village and built a hut there. “Along with their daughter and two sons, they began living there but as soon as the villagers got to know, they went there and broke down that home too,” said Pr. Dev

The Pastor said that Bhushan asked his parents if they could move back into the small room in which they lived. But the parents refused. “At present, the family is still living in the hut outside the village. They have made several complaints to the concerned authorities as well” said Pr. Dev.

“The Tehsildar and the collector recently came to investigate but we have received no response from them as yet. Bani has even spoken to the Chief Minister over the phone, in front of me. They have also submitted numerous appeals, to no effect” said Pr. Dev.

Speaking to Persecution Relief, Bani said, “the fanatics have made a false complaint against my family saying that we are fighting with villagers when it was the fanatics who got together and beat us up and broke our homes.”

The family belongs to the ST caste of the ‘Mochi Tribe’ and are very poor. “They are laborers and work on a day to day basis for wages. However, because of their social standing, they don’t get employment easily” Pr. Dev explained to Persecution Relief.

In the 1st Half of 2020, Persecution Relief recorded 293 cases of Christian Persecution. In 2019 alone, we recorded the maximum number of 527 cases compared to 447 cases in 2018, 440 in 2017, and 330 in 2016. From January 2016 to June 2020, Persecution Relief has recorded 2067 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. The US State Department 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 Founder, Persecution Relief
www.persecutionrelief.org
email : persecutionrelief@gmail.com


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