India (MNN) — The news today from India is bittersweet. First, the sweet: “Women within the tribal groups are accepting Jesus as their Savior,” Kiara* says. Her organization partners with The Voice of the Martyrs Canada to help persecuted Christian women.
Now, the bitter: in Jharkhand state, “they’re being so discriminated [against] and hidden within their own families.”
A Hindu nationalist group called the BJP governs India and its ultra-religious wing, the RSS. When these authorities learned about the scores of tribal women turning to Christ, they came up with a plan to hunt the women down.
As noted here, gangs of Hindu women target believers in states like Jharkhand. “[Roughly] 3,000 women, trained by the RSS, are entering into these villages [and] asking and questioning; it’s like a mapping,” Kiara explains.
“Families from the Hindutva groups are not coming forward and [revealing] that these women are following Jesus, so these groups are now going into the tribal areas [and] monitoring and identifying.”
“Come back to Hinduism – or else.”
Once they’ve identified believers, the gangs can implement fear tactics. “The main thing they are doing is trying to create a fear psychosis. They gather them together and ostracize these women; there’s so much hatred that even the children are scared now,” Kiara says.
The pressure becomes so intense that women see no way to survive. But instead of denying Christ, they’d rather choose an extreme escape. “Many women thought to commit suicide,” Kiara says.
“Never denounce our faith, but commit suicide.”
Together with VOM Canada, Kiara’s group offers a different solution. The ministry empowers women with life skill training and discipleship.
“[We are] empowering them on various livelihood things because they are not allowed to enter into the fields, or into any job because of their faith,” Kiara says.
Giving believers access to Scripture is another lifesaving tactic. “They long to listen to the Word because their families don’t allow them to have the Bible,” Kiara explains.
“Their families don’t allow them to listen to the Word of God. Many of them don’t have any mobile phones. Their family takes it away, so they have no connection” with the outside world.
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Header image is a representative stock photo courtesy of Lewis J Goetz/Unsplash.