Pastor Beaten, Threatened With Death for Refusing to Deny Christ

Published 24 January 2018  |  
AP
India is ranked 17th on Open Door USA's World Watch List of countries where Christians face the most persecution.

A pastor from Jharkhand said he was dragged and beaten up on the streets, and threatened with death by some Hindu extremists when he denied renouncing Jesus Christ for a Hindu monkey god.

"In those moments when they were kicking and beating me, I felt that even if I die now, the Lord will make the ministry I leave behind fruitful," Pr Karma Oraon told Morning Star News.

"We are just a few gathering in the name of Jesus. He is our strength," Oraon added.

Oraon, 34-year-old, and other Christian worshipers were attacked by nearly 16 Hindu extremists while he was leading a prayer meeting in Harmu village of Ranchi District, Jharkhand, on Christmas Eve.

While attacking them, the extremists were shouting "Praise Bajrang Bali," referring to the monkey god Hanuman.

"They forcefully dragged me outside when we were in the middle of meditating on the Word of God," said Oraon.

"They spewed many words in extreme foul language and beat me on my chest repeatedly," he added.

The attackers physically and verbally abused him. They also tore his national identification card to pieces.

"They slapped me and said, 'You are Oraon? Tell us what you must do, being an Oraon? You should follow the Adivasi [indigenous] religion or this foreign religion?" he said.

They also threatened him with death.

"They told me, 'Immediately you should give up Christianity and embrace Sarnaism/Sarna[indigenous religions) – if you don't, you will be brutally murdered," he added.

The attackers also targeted other worshipers. They threatened to kill their families if they practice Christianity.

"There is no place for Christianity here. All of you must embrace Sarna. If anybody goes against this rule, their houses will be set on fire and they will be killed along with their families," he said.

When one of the local residents, 21-year-old Chotu Munda, tried to stop the assailants from physically abusing Oraon and other female church members, he was verbally abused and beaten up.

When he later requested the police to register a case, the officers refused to do it.

Oraon has been forced out of the village, but has not lost his faith in Christ.

"I never had an experience of opposition when I preached Gospel or visited families to pray for the sick. But I seek inspiration from my Lord; people have crossed every limit to humiliate Him and crucify Him, but He patiently bore their torture for my sake, for my sins," said Oraon.

"I strongly feel the presence of my Lord Jesus in all this. Had He not granted the strength to endure, I could have never overcome from what happened," he added.

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