India (MNN) — Hindu nationalist organizations in India's
Madhya Pradesh State have declared war on Christians.
According to Compass Direct News (CDN), Hindu leaders promised
to force "reconversions" from supposed Hindus who had become Christians in the
Don Edwards with
Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India explains, "What you
find is the Hindu nationalists again trying to exterminate Christians from
various places in India, and they are now planning on cleansing this district
called Mandla of Christians on February 10."
CDN also cited a report from the regional Patrika newspaper. In it, a source said that leaders announced a
list of pre-festival objectives, which included a concerted effort to drive
away Christian pastors, evangelists and foreign aid workers.
It's a state that has already
shown hostility to the Gospel. In 2006, the MP State assembly toughened the state's anti-conversion
law by preventing "religious conversions by force or allurement".
Under the new clause, Christians
are often charged or otherwise implicated in trumped up conversion cases. Edwards
confirms the Bajrang Dal is behind this latest "reconversion" campaign.
Stirred by the anti-Christian sentiment expressed at the
groundbreaking in Mandla, Hindu zealots have already attacked a church. The Pastor of this church has led a home
fellowship for five years and has seen
his congregation grow to about 60 people.
On May 2, according to CDN's report, a mob surrounded the house
church, pelted his house with stones, accused the pastor of making unlawful 'forceful
conversions' and shouted anti-Christian slogans. They also had both the pastor and his wife
Eventually, police forced the pastor and his family to sign
statements that they would no longer lead Sunday worship or pray with friends
or relatives inside their house, and that they would not evangelize again in
Death threats followed him, and the family has since gone
into hiding. The security issues
revealed in this case are expected to be similar but larger in scope as the campaign in Madhya Pradesh progresses.
Church leaders are concerned that the violence could be building
up to a major onslaught as February 2011 nears. Edwards says prayer is really needed. Disruption of the ministry is likely. However, "One of the prayers can be that this
attempt at reconversion of Christians would not happen and also that God
would give our fellow brothers and sisters the faith and courage to trust Him
and that they would remain faithful."