Christians beaten, humiliated for refusing to deny Christ

By February 20, 2004

India (ODM/MNN)–Open Doors reports Christian women from Orissa state, India, suffered beatings and public humiliation for refusing to give up their faith.

According to media reports, a group of Hindu extremists dragged eight women, including two 15-year-old girls, out of their homes on February 6 while their male family members were at work.

A mob of nearly 45 people, some of them relatives, beat the women severely with sticks and sandals. The extremists tried to persuade the women to renounce Christianity. When they refused, their attackers forcibly shaved the crown of their heads.

When the attackers made further threats against them, the women and their families fled from the villages of Kilipala and Kanimul, in the Jagatsinghpur district of Orissa. About 20 people, including two infants, took shelter in an evangelical church in the capital city of Bhubaneshwar.

Despite the humiliation they had suffered, the women insisted that their faith in Christ remained firm and they would not re-convert to Hinduism. However, tensions have flared over the incident, and family members of the victims are still afraid to return home.

The women are receiving pastoral care and support from the church in Bhubaneshwar, but the pastor is reluctant to discuss his involvement, fearing Hindu reprisals against the church.

Representatives of Hindu organizations such as the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad have been appointed in each village to report any signs of missionary or evangelistic activity. Orissa is already notorious for its violence against Christians.

The district administration has promised to take legal action over the recent attack, but no arrests have been made. Pray for the safety of those involved in ministry.

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