India (MNN) — The worst anti-Christian violence in India since independence 60 years ago has yet to come to an end in the state of Orissa. According to reports, Hindu fanatics attempted to poison water sources at relief camps holding at least 15,000 people displaced by mob violence. Hundreds of Christian refugees in the region were told not to return to their homes unless they converted to Hinduism.
The World Bible Translation Center (WBTC) is another organization in India that's felt the violent assaults firsthand. "Samson" is with the WBTC and shares the bad news. "One of our workers in the district Gujapati has been killed. And this has happened when the radicals attacked him and his church in the village."
50-year-old Kumuda Bardhan has been a tremendous worker in Orissa, says Samson. "He was reaching out from village to village, sharing the love of God and distributing the Bibles to the seekers and new believers in the nearby villages. He has been observed by the Hindu radicals."
Samson says more than 1,000 people set his church and the houses of Christians on fire. "When brother Kumuda Bardan came to intervene, he pleaded with the extremists to stop the attacks. They got hold of him and started thrashing him. And when he fell down unconscious, they just lifted his body and threw him in the fire."
Bardhan's wife, son and daughter-in-law were also attacked. All are hospitalized and receiving treatment for their injuries.
While the anti-Christian violence was meant to stop evangelism, Samson says it hasn't. "The death of Kumuda Bardhan has given them the added courage that they need to stand firm because our distributers are attacked almost every day."
"The magnitude of the attacks that are being carried out is more than what anybody can imagine or comprehend. These things are not appearing in the media. According to the media, 50 people are dead, but actually more than 500 people are missing," says Samson.
He says people are still wandering in the forests because they're not safe in the temporary refugee camps.
Samson says Christians are doing what they can, "providing material help through secret channels — providing packets of food and sending money so that they can purchase the necessary things that they need."
He's asking Christians around the world to pray that Indian believers would be able to forgive those who persecute them. "This is the time when people need to realize the forgiveness of Christ. Jesus said on the cross, 'Father, forgive them. They do not know what they're doing.' This makes a lot of difference in the lives of non-Christian people."