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Updates and Corrected Information (as of 1/22/2024): 

After further investigation, the mob stormed into the church gathering but did not do any damage to the building.

Four people were arrested on forced conversion charges (not three pastors, unlike previously reported): Pastor Bhagchand Dhibar, the pastor’s wife, the pastor’s son, and the pastor’s daughter-in-law.

01/18/2024 India (International Christian Concern) — Three churches in the village of Amdi, India, were forced to close last weekend after a mob of right-wing radicals stormed their regular Sunday morning services.  

The attackers ransacked the homes where congregants were gathered and warned them of further consequences should they continue to meet for worship. Christians in the village were left in a state of fear and intimidation, further worsened by the refusal of police to register a report against the attackers.  

In the aftermath of the attack, three pastors were arrested and falsely charged with alleged ‘forced conversion activities’ – a common charge levelled against Indian Christians by government officials when no true crimes have been committed.  

The three men were Pastor Santosh Sahu of Immanual Church, who has been conducting his services for the last 12 years, Pastor Thakur Ram of Church of God, and Pastor Bhagchand Dhibar of A.G. Church. They were later released on bail, but that did little to ease the concern caused by the mob.  

There has been a sense of fear among the Christian believers, while witnessing increased anti-Christian sentiments,” said a Christian who requested anonymity. “We are worried and anxious about the mob attacks against us. We are not sure if we will have a gathering of Sunday worship at all.” 

Chhattisgarh is one of the five Indian states that held elections last month to select their Chief Minister. Pro-Hindu BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) had a landslide victory in these elections, twisting power from their close opponent, Indian National Congress. This win could embolden the radical Hindu nationalists to attack and intimidate innocent Christians for their political benefit.  

Please continue to pray for believers in India under this new anti-Christian state government.