For clergymen arrested, time in prison was a ‘God-given gift’

May 23, 2017 by  
Filed under India, newsletter-india, Persecution

Uttar Pradesh, May 23, 2017: For six Protestant clergymen, who were arrested for allegedly inciting hatred between religions during a house prayer, the time they spent in prison was “a rare opportunity to witness Christ among jail inmates,” said one of them.

All six were released on bail last Saturday, after the prosecution failed to prove the charges. Instead of complaining about the unjust imprisonment and seeking legal action against their persecutors, they saw their jail time as an opportunity.

“We had trouble in the jail,” Rev Bala Lakhandar told Matters India, “some even pulled our hair, took away our bed roll, verbally abused us for being Christian, and forced us to sleep on the floor. But at the same time, God gave us opportunity to speak about Jesus to them. [. . .] I believe it was a God-given gift.”

Revs Chandan, Mangaleswar Prasad, Ram Hari, Nand Lall, Ranjeet Prasad and Bala Lakhandar were arrested on 10 May during a prayer meeting at Nand Lall’s home in Salempur, a village in Mau District.

They were taken to a police station and later sent to jail on charges of inciting religious hatred and trying to cause a riot. The police did not file charges against the other 250 people present at the prayer.

“The situation in Uttar Pradesh is very alarming for Christians,” said Sanjay Kumar Masih, who played a key role in the clergymen’s release. The latter were let go on a 20,000-rupee (US$ 310) bail each.

In the recent past, right-wing Hindu nationalist extremists have been attacking Christians with impunity, especially after Yogi Adityanath took over the state administration following last March election.

According to those arrested, police were alerted by Hindu nationalists who had tried to interrupt the prayer. “When we gathered for the prayer, right-wing Hindu activists objected but we ignored them,” said Rev Mangaleswar Prasad.

“There was no provocation, as alleged, from our side and we were there only to offer peaceful prayers,” he added. “Police took us into custody, ignoring our pleas. The FIR (first information report) was filed without any evidence.”

What is more, “Hindu activists and the police abused us at the police station and their supporters did the same in the jail,” Rev Lakhandar said.

However, even though inmates were turned against the clergymen, something changed, after they heard the word of Christ. After a while, some came to listen to the message of Christ’s love, expressing a desire to join Christianity.

“It is true that we were harassed but God turned it to our advantage and, despite hurdles, we bore witness to Christ among the inmates,” Rev Mangaleshwar Prasad said.

“It seems,” he added, “that before we reached the jail the message was spread among the prisoners that Christians converting Hindus were coming. For the first three days, the inmates treated us with contempt but later came to listen to us about Jesus Christ.”

This convinced him that all this was made possible “by our cool and composed attitude, even after the abuses.”

– asia news

Enter Google AdSense Code Here

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!