In case you missed it, you can read Part 1 here.
07/19/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Recently, ICC trained more than 90 Christian leaders in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, two of India’s states that were most severely affected by persecution in 2018.
“The time we spent here in training was invaluable,” Pastor Kumar, a recent graduate of the training, said. “I learned that I have religious freedom rights under Article 25 of the constitution and this has given me confidence to not only face persecution, but to also face authorities. I also now have clear guidelines on how to file a police report and where to report persecution.”
“These trainings are very important, as most Indian pastors don’t know about the constitution and thus don’t know about their rights,” Pastor Raj of the Church of Pentecost explained. This lack of knowledge causes many Christians to be easy targets of abuse with little consequence for the perpetrators of persecution.
We here at ICC will always be ready to assist our Indian brothers and sisters in the aftermath of persecution. However, we hope that these critical trainings will help India’s Christian community push back against the rising tide of intolerance and persecution.
In the days that followed ICC’s Persecution Preparedness Training in Tamil Nadu, Pastor Douglas, head pastor at a church in southern India, was wrongfully arrested by local police. He was falsely accused of various crimes, including perpetrating forced conversions to Christianity, by a local extremist group named the Hindu Munnani.
According to local Christians, on April 6, a mob of 15 Hindu Munnani extremists, escorted by two police officers, surrounded Pastor Douglas’ worship hall. They shouted at the 35 Christians gathered for worship and accused Pastor Douglas of multiple crimes. Without investigation, the police escorts arrested Pastor Douglas and took him to the local police station for questioning.
When Pastor Raj, a recent graduate of ICC’s training, heard the news, he sprang into action.
“After the ICC training, I knew what to do and where to call and report,” Pastor Raj explained. “It worked like magic. The immediate call from your office and other actions helped resolve the issue right at the police station itself.”
After releasing Pastor Douglas, police “found” that the forced conversion charge that had been leveled against him was false. In fact, the police further reprimanded members of the Hindu Munnani for disturbing the peaceful Christian worship.
This persecution preparedness training was funded through ICC’s Underground Pastors Fund. If you would like to donate to support persecuted pastors, please give us a call at 1-800-ICC-5441.