Christian family in MP takes refuge in jungle after thrown out of village for refusing to abandon Christianity

Published 19 March 2020  |  
Reuters/Adnan Abidi
A man climbs down after partially chipping out the cross from the entrance of his house, after taking part in a religion conversion ceremony from Christianity to Hinduism, at Hasayan town in Uttar Pradesh August 29, 2014.

Tribal animists in Madhya Pradesh's Bilood village attacked and assaulted a Christian family and threatened to beat and kill their nine-year-old daughter after they refused to recant their Christian faith.

The animists demolished the house of the Christian family and expelled them out of the village into the jungle.

Two days after the attack, when the nine-year-old girl was returning from school to her makeshift refuge in the jungle, she was stopped by the wife of the primary assailant, Laxman.

According to pastor Lalu Kirade, father of the girl, Laxman's wife held the girl by her hair and asked her how dare she entered the village.

The girl told the assailant's wife that she cannot miss school as her annual examinations are taking place.

"Laxman's wife pulled my daughter's hair and threatened her that she should not be seen in the village or she would be beaten to death," pastor Kirade told Morning Star News.

"My children are studying in the government school of the village — I cannot risk their lives," he said. "If I make a complaint with the police, the assailants will not spare my children."

According to the pastor Kirade, the animists had earlier entered his property and told the Christians that they would be expelled from the village if they did not abandon Christianity.

The family was harassed by the villagers for about two hours with questions that insulted Christianity.

Two hours later, Laxman came back with a wooden rod and started to destroy the items that were kept outside the Christian family's house. Soon Laxman's wife and other villagers also joined him and started to assault the family. They attacked the family and started to demolish their house.

Pastor Kirade took his parents, his daughter and three sons and escaped into the jungle. His wife was not around when the incident took place.

Later Laxman spoke to pastor Kirade over the phone and promised to restore everything and rebuild the house if he renounced Christ and stopped praying to Jesus.

"I told him that you broke my house because it was a worship place of the living God, but what you do not know is that wherever I build my house, God's worship place will be established there. So I told him that I will not renounce Christ," pastor Kirade told Morning Star News.

Local officials have warned the villagers not to associate with pastor Kirade and his family or provide them with any food, shelter or clothing. If anyone is seen associating with the Christian family, they will have to pay a fine of 5,000 rupees.

At present, pastor Kirade and his family are living with a church member and receiving assistance from the Evangelical Fellowship of India.

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