06/06/2019 India (International Christian Concern) – In January 2016, Hindu radicals attacked the tiny Christian community of Dehar, located in India’s Madhya Pradesh state. Home to only 12 residents, the mob destroyed the community’s place of worship, beat the Christians, and brought them to the police station where they were subjected to further torture.
Among the victims of this brutal assault was Ruben, now a nine-year-old Christian boy. Like the other Christians of Dehar, he was stripped, beaten, arrested, and held in prison for three days. At the time, Ruben was only six.
Ruben is the son of Rev. Balu Saste, Dehar’s local pastor, and his wife Bhuri. Both of Ruben’s parents are blind, so he is the couple’s eyes and hands in their day to day life. After the attack, both Ruben’s parents were falsely accused of engaging in forced conversions.
Recently, in May 2019, a court in Madhya Pradesh finally threw out the charges against Ruben’s parents and acquitted them. This was after more than three years of court hearings.
While the acquittal of Ruben’s partners is something to be celebrated, their difficult situation is not unique in India. Christian leaders are often falsely accused of committing forced conversions. This is a tactic used by Hindu radicals to harass leaders and justify their assaults on Christian communities.
For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].