"But the biggest gain was in my faith" Christian testifies after spending more than a decade in jail

Published 29 August 2019  |  

Bijaya Kumar Sanaseth, one of the seven wrongly convicted Christian of killing a Hindu extremist leader in Kandhamal was released on bail on July 27.

In September 2013, Sanaseth and six other Christian men were convicted of the murder of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati. The death of the Hindu leader on August 23, 2008 started off anti-Christian attacks in Kandhamal, a district in Odisha.

Although the Maoist guerillas in the area claimed the assassination of the leader, the Hindu extremists led a series of riots that left roughly 100 people dead, thousands injured, 300 churches and 6,000 homes destroyed, and 50,000 people displaced.

When Sanaseth went to jail more than 10 and a half years ago for a crime that he never committed, his oldest child was nine years. "I have not seen my children grow," Sanaseth told Morning Star News. "My six children were very young with my youngest child – a girl being 1-year-old – and my oldest, a boy, was 9 years old. Today the youngest is 12 and my oldest is 20. Nobody can give me back the years that I have lost."

Sanaseth, 47, was the second Christian to be released on bail after fellow convict Gornath Chalanseth was issued bail on May 21.

"I faced a lot of hardships in jail – I thank God for this freedom," he said. "I trusted God would bring me out one day."

Remembering the trials he and the six other Christians faced during the court sessions, Sanaseth said, "Though the truth was evident, we were convicted and spent several years in jail, and the other five continue to be in jail."

"But the biggest gain was in my faith. I was a nominal Christian, knowing about Jesus but did not know Him. In the jail, I got to know the Lord closely. I read the complete Bible five times and started to understand the importance of the Word of God."

Sanaseth spoke about Jesus Christ in all the four jails he was imprisoned in, and according to him, eight people put their faith in Christ. "I had the privilege of leading church in prison as well and thank God for it," he said.

Through Morning Star News, he appealed to all the readers of his story to pray for the five innocents in prison, that they too would acquire bail and be reunited with their families.

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