‘We have lost everything,’ Christian family laments after their home was set fire

A Christian family that had been persecuted for years because of their faith lost all they owned, including their home, household goods, and stored harvests after their residence in Madhya Pradesh’s Jhirawaliya village was set on fire on November 28, according to International Christian Concern (ICC).

For the past 15 years, Lalu Toliya Wakhala and his family have been devout Christians. Lalu and his family have experienced criticism from hardline Hindu nationalists who have demanded that they abandon Christianity since their conversion. But the family maintained their faith.

On November 28, before leaving for Sunday worship in Tichikiya, Lalu and his family had locked their house. About an hour later,  Lalu received a call informing him that his house was on fire. When his family returned to Jhirawaliya, their home and everything inside had been completely destroyed.

“We have lost everything,” Lalu told ICC. “There is nothing left, we became homeless, with no food to eat or clothing to wear. Even the cash we had saved and crops we had stored was completely burned.”

At the same time that Lalu's house was set on fire, a crowd of 20 to 30 radical nationalists surrounded the residence where Sunday worship was being held in Tichikiya yelling threats at the pastor and his congregation, demanding that they abandon their faith

According to local accounts, 13 of the Christians who gathered in Tichikiya for worship subsequently got a notification from district officials demanding that they explain their conversions to Christianity. Many people believe that extremists are influencing the local administration, who say that all Christian conversions in the region are unlawful.