04/02/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – According to Morning Star News, 10 Christians in central India were beaten and forced to “reconvert” to a tribal religion after a controversy broke out over the burial of a deceased villager.
Lakhshu Nag, a tribal animist, had been ill for more than a year in Chhingur village, located in the Bastar District of Chhattisgarh. A few days before his death, he approached Pastor Dularam Kashyap and asked him for prayer. Two days later, Nag died in the hospital.
On March 2, when Nag’s body was taken back to Chhingur for burial, villagers refused to allow Nag’s body to be buried in the village because he received Christian prayer. The villagers then assaulted several Christians, including Pastor Kashyap.
The Christians reported the incident to local police, and it was resolved that Nag’s body would be buried in another village where there was a Christian burial site.
After the burial, on March 3, the Christians of Chhingur were summoned before the village elders and told they must attend a reconversion ceremony. According to Morning Star News, four families gave into local pressure and reconverted to the local tribal religion. However, another four Christian families refused.
On March 10, a mob attacked the remaining Christian families, forcing them to recant their Christian faith and worship local deities. After the ceremony, the Christians fled the village.
“We fled from the village on the day of the ceremony, everyone in their own direction,” Raidhar Nag, a local Christian, told Morning Star news. “Four Christian families hid themselves in the village itself. The villagers frantically searched for all of us on the day of the ceremony and found the members of the four families. They took them along and forcibly sprinkled some water on them as the tradition and made them worship the tribal deities.”
On March 12, another complaint was submitted to the local police by local Christian leaders. The police called the Christian victims to the Darbha police station and told them that they must resolve the issue with the local villagers. This lack of enforcement has many of the Christian victims afraid that they may be attacked again.
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