Pastor unable to return village wonders if his church will “ever be opened” for believers to gather and pray

(Photo: Unsplash)

A small church that had been closed for about 10 months in Kadapa, Andhra Pradesh was spotted with a saffron flag, an indication of Hindu patriotism, planted on it.

The church once facilitated around 40 to 50 Christians from Chittimitti Chintala village, but the presentation of saffron flag on January 17 has left the neighborhood Christian group in dread of incredible mistreatment.

Minister James Prasad, the pastor of the church, feels the recent illustration is a sign of anti-Christian activity where religious fanatics are trying to make Chittimitti a Christians-free village.

Pastor Prasad himself does not stay in the village because he was forced out ten months ago by Chittimitti village leaders, who neither wanted a church nor wanted any Christian prayers to happen in the village. The 48-year-old pastor and his family have not moved into the village since then.

“It has been very hard moving from one place to another as we cannot go back to my home in Chittimitti Chintala,” Pastor Prasad told International Christian Concern (ICC).

He regrets that he cannot return to the village where he first started teaching the gospel 22 years ago.

“I lived in that home for the last 22 years. Now I cannot even go into the village,” he said.

For 22 years, Pastor Prasad has led many house churches in Chittimitti. He later built a small church to routinely accumulate 40 to 50 Christians for worship.

But ever since the 48-year-old pastor was thrown out of the village, the Christian congregation in Chittimitti has been under pressure. They are called upon to return to their traditional faith or face serious consequences.

Though Pastor Prasad has requested assistance from local police authorities, little has been done to date.

“All I want is to go back to my house,” the Christian leader lamented. “I am now wondering if the church will ever be opened for the members to gather and to do prayers,” he told ICC.