INDIA – Religious goons torture lone Pastor, Maharashtra

Persecution Relief Correspondent | March 7, 2020

A young Pastor was severely tortured and threatened for over 3 hours by religious goons.

Ashok(name changed on request of victim for security reasons) is a Pastor who leads a Church that gathers in a small village in the state of Maharashtra, India. He isactively involved with the members of the Church and regularly moves around nearby villages to evangelise and pray with other fellow believers.

On the 4th of March 2020, he visited a nearby village, which is approximately 30kms away from his village. He visits this village, at least once in 15 days as there are 3 Christian families who reside there. He has been doing this regularly for almost 8 years. He and a couple of other believers were invited by a local doctor who they have been witnessing to for the past couple of years. She requested them to pray at her medical clinic.

After a brief time of prayer, at 12pm in the afternoon, the believers dispersed. As Ashok walked to his motor bike to head home, he was intervened by 4 men. One of the men forcefully took Ashok’s motor bike keys, started the bike and ordered Ashok to sit behind him. Ashok was reluctant at first, but sensing trouble, he complied to their demands.

He was then taken by the men to a lonely place around 2 km away. There, one of the men grabbed Ashok and said, “we have been watching you for the past few years. You are forcefully converting innocent people to Christianity.” Another man snatched Ashok’s mobile phone, took out the memory card and switched it to flight mode. The next 3 hours seemed like eternity for Ashok as the 4 religious goons got together and severely beat him up. They kept asking him to profane the name of Jesus Christ as they mercilessly swung blows across his face. In a state of semi–consciousness, Ashok then faintly seen a car approaching. He hoped that he would be rescued by whoever was in the car, but to his horror, there were 3 more religious fanatics who joined in with his abductors. Together, they carried his limp body and dumped him in their car. They then drove to another secluded place and continued harassing and beating him there.

Being assaulted and threatened at the same time, Ashokcould hear one man say, “ if you tell the police, we will find you and kill you. Don’t even think of filing a complaint. The police know us well, they will let us go. Stop coming to our village and make sure that the Church in your village is also discontinued.” When the fanatics eventually stopped torturing him, one of the younger men grabbed him and picked him up. “These men are crazyand dangerous. Please don’t come back here ever again.” Saying this, he put Ashok on his bike and dropped him off at a spot close to his home.