INDIA – Pastor says life becoming ‘far more difficult’ for Christians amid escalating persecution

Christian Post | Leah MarieAnn Klett | March 25, 2020

A pastor in India has opened up about the deteriorating state of religious freedom in the country, revealing things are becoming “far more difficult” for Christians who almost daily encounter persecution for their faith. 

“Things have become far more difficult for pastors like me,” Pastor Ramesh Kumar, a church planter who leads house churches in 12 villages outside of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, told persecution watchdog International Christian Concern. “Almost daily, I encounter a situation where I am asked to stop preaching the Gospel and recant my faith in Jesus.”

Pastor Kumar described several incidents of persecution he has experienced over the last several weeks. “Some days, it is only a mild warning,” he said, but “other times, it turns into a frightening physical assault.”

On March 16, the pastor was about to leave his home when four people showed up at his door. What started as a civil conversation quickly turned volatile after the pastor revealed he “preaches Jesus to people who want to hear.”

“When the four men asked if I receive money for converting people, I immediately sensed the trouble was going beyond my control,” he recalled. “I immediately called my landlord, who is a Hindu, and he came to my rescue. He dispersed the four men by explaining that I am not doing any harm to anyone.”

The pastor uses a bicycle to shuttle between villages to conduct prayers, lead Bible studies and various Sunday worship services, and share the Gospel message with people he meets along the road. He described a recent incident where one of his house churches was almost shut down.

“It was around noon after I had completed Sunday worship in Puran Patti village,” he recalled. “Suddenly, a four-wheel vehicle full of young men stopped in front of the church. These young men entered the church shouting anti-Christian slogans and started to hurl abuses at the Christians who had gathered.”

“After an hour of intense abuse, the Hindu radicals locked and sealed the door of the church. They told my congregation and me that we were no longer allowed to assemble in the church.