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ICC Note: Ten Christian families in the Latehar district of India’s Jharkhand state have been forced out of their homes after refusing to convert to Hinduism. According to reports, these families were told to recant Christianity by Hindu radicals on June 5. When they refused, they were beaten and driven out of the village. Since then, all have remained displaced.

07/05/2018 India (The Express) – The families were forced to flee their village in the Latehar district, in eastern India, earlier last month due to their religion.

They are “living in fear” and have not returned home because local authorities have been unable or unwilling to help them.

The Christians said they told to renounce their religion by Hindu radicals at a village meeting on June 5.

When they refused, they were severely beaten and driven out of the village.

One of those forced to flee from Pahli village, 25-year-old Shyamlal Kujju, said: “We are living in fear, away from our homes.

“It is almost a month since my house is locked by Hindu radicals and there is no attempt by the police or the government to resolve the issue.

“Our lives are devastated as we hide ourselves from the Hindu radicals.

“We do not know how long this will continue.”

Attacks against Christians have increased in India’s Jharkhand state since last September, when officials criminalized religious conversion.

Pastor Rajdev Toppo said, “Things have become increasingly difficult to serve as a pastor in Latehar.

“On a daily basis, I am threatened and ridiculed for teaching Christians the word of God.

“The local government has not been helpful including when cases of the Christians were taken to the police and administration.”

William Stark, regional manager of anti-persecution charity International Christian Concern, said he was “deeply concerned” by the news.

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For interviews with William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org