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7/8/2024 India (International Christian Concern) — Seven families who left their tribal religion to become Christians were evicted from a forested village in south Odisha last month. 

Forced out by the tribal village council, the families are now without proper food or shelter and are facing the brunt of the heavy monsoon season in India. 

Although the incident occurred in June, the news only recently became public, as the village is deep in the forest areas of the district of Malkangiri in Odisha. 

Christian workers and pastors are providing some relief materials to the seven families. A member of one of the families recorded a small video on their phone and shared it on social media. 

In the video, a man shares how his family became Christians five years ago and how the non-Christian village members used to harass them to return to their tribal faith. He added that his family and the other families are in danger because of their professed faith in Christ, and he asked for prayer. 

In June this year, villagers beat up members of the Christian families and threw their belongings out in the rain, which destroyed them. The villagers also threatened to kill the Christians if they returned to the village.

Speaking to International Christian Concern (ICC), Pastor Digal said that after receiving the news of the eviction, they complained to the local police, who did not take any action. They then appealed to the district superintendent of police, who directed the local police to act. 

Still, no authorities have taken any action.

Pastor Digal said Hindu fanatic groups pushed the tribal village council to evict the Christian families. Often, Christians are only allowed to stay in Hindu villages if they agree, under pressure, to give donations to festivals for local gods and goddesses and worship them. 

When they don’t, things turn violent.  

“In Odisha, we now have the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) holding the seat of power from June 2024 onwards,” Pastor Digal said. “Such incidents will increase now.” 

*Names have been changed

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