02/29/2020 India (International Christian Concern) – Niladri Kanhara, age 53, used to be a member of several radical Hindu nationalist organizations and openly persecuted Christians. Now, after his family experienced a miraculous healing through prayer, he is a practicing Christian and faces persecution from his former nationalist colleagues.
“I studied up to 6th class in 1980 in Chokapad, Taikabali Block, at the ashram built by Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Swami Lakshmanananda,” Kanhara told Asia News. “They instilled the poison of hatred in my mind since childhood. I learned to hate and torture Christians. The belief was: ‘To save Hinduism, Christians must be eliminated from Kandhamal’.”
According to Kanhara, he was an active member of several radical Hindu nationalist groups, including the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). As a member of these groups, he actively persecuted Christians in his local district of Kandhamal.
“I tortured many Christians, threatened them with Ghar Wapsi to Hinduism,” Kanhara told Asia News. “I also desecrated many churches.”
However, in 2005, Kanhara’s five children began to suffer from an unknown illness. After he had tried everything, including selling off his gold and sacrificing goats, to heal his children, he turned to a local Christian pastor to pray over his family. Following this prayer, Kanhara’s children were healed.
“I found the true God and welcomed Jesus Christ as my Redeemer and Savior,” Kanhara told Asia News.
Because of his conversion, Kanhara soon started to experience persecution at the hands of his former nationalist colleagues. According to Kanhara, the radicals physically beat him, abducted his son, and socially boycotted his family. In 2008, when anti-Christian riots swept across the Kandhamal district, Kanhara and his family were forced to flee into the forest and have never returned home.
Despite this persecution, Kanhara and his family have remained steadfast in their Christian faith. “I have refused everything to proclaim Jesus as my Savior,” Kanhara proudly proclaimed to Asia News.
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