India Christians forced to flee

By July 23, 2008

India (MNN) — In West Bengal, fourteen members of a Gospel for Asia church were beaten and forced to flee their homes.

On July 10, members of this church were asked to attend a meeting. Although they thought the meeting was about ordinary matters, church members were immediately persecuted upon arrival. A group of men began shouting at them and accusing them of forcing people to convert to Christianity from their traditional religion. Christians were also blamed for the illness that was spreading throughout the village.

As the accusation escalated, some people began to physically assault the Christians and severely beat them. By the end of the attack, the anti-Christian extremists had threatened to cut the church members into pieces if they remained in the village.

Breaking free of the mob, the Christians were able to flee to neighboring villages. After hearing about the situation the next day, GFA missionaries Rajman Gounder and V. Samuel Mahli found the Christians and brought them into their own homes for safety. They appealed to the village leader, Negesh Rai, for help in resolving the matter so that the Christians could return home. He directed them to the police to seek help.

Negesh is a candidate for a local political party. After hearing that Negesh sent the missionaries to the police for help, the opposing party organized a protest against him. The villagers involved in the protest called for Negesh's resignation.

On July 16, GFA's West Bengal state leaders moved the harassed believers out of the missionaries' homes into rented houses in a different area. They will remain there until it is safe for them to return to their own homes.

Gospel for Asia's work in West Bengal began in 1995.
Their work includes personal evangelism, church planting, ministries, Bible schools and Bible distribution, along with many other things.

Please pray for God's intervention in the situation, and that He would touch the hearts of the villagers so that they may see the truth. Pray also for God's guidance and wisdom in dealing with the spiritual and political situations.

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