Christian Converts in India Beaten for Refusing to Worship Hindu Gods

(Photo: Reuters)Christians held protests and candlelit vigils in the wake of the attack on an elderly nun in West Bengal in India in March 2015.

People in India have been converting to Christianity following what has been described as miraculous healings done in the name of Jesus, persecution watchdog group Open Doors has said.

These Christians have remained devoted to their new faith in Jesus, despite enduring immense pressure from radicals who beat them for refusing to worship Hindu gods.

Open Doors shared the stories of several Christians from India on Monday, with one man, identified as Sohan, describing what happened to him after he and others in his village decided to follow Christ: "The villagers crowded around us and started punching and kicking us, all over our bodies. They asked us to praise Hindu gods and goddesses. We refused. They kicked us harder."

Sohan was accused by the radicals of converting people to Christianity, which is against the law in five of India's states.

He said that despite his fear of being arrested, which led to him spending four days in jail, he prayed to God, and saw those prayers answered.

"I preached the Gospel and prayed for an inmate who was sick. He was healed and believed in Christ instantly. My other cell mate was a person suffering from intense depression. He kept saying that he wanted to kill himself. I prayed for him and the suicidal thoughts left him. He also accepted Christ," Sohan revealed.

He added: "The third person I met was a young man falsely accused of raping a woman. He also used to remain very upset and felt hopeless about his life. I shared the Gospel with him, and he also accepted Christ inside the prison. This way I saw God's immense power and deliverance."

Open Doors, which monitors and provides relief to persecuted Christians around the world, was able, along with its partners, to bail out Sohan, who has reportedly returned to his village, which wasn't named, and lives among the people who attacked him and had him arrested.

"I suffered with many physical ailments and financial troubles before I became a Christian. Now I have freedom from all those problems and have a new life. This new life I will live only for Him, even if it includes persecution," Sohan said of his experience.

"I give thanks to your organization for your help."

Another Christian, identified as Mohan, said that while he was still a Hindu, his family prayed to Hindu gods and sacrificed animals in the hopes of healing his sick father.

One day a Christian villager advised that they start praying to Jesus instead.

"When we did, my father was healed. There was no more sickness in my family. Of course, we followed Jesus after that. To be honest, we never anticipated resistance," Mohan revealed.

His fellow villagers were angry when they saw that the family was happy and healthy and following Jesus, and told them to leave their home. Mohan's family refused, however, and for the past 10 years they've faced constant discrimination and attacks.

"Fifteen men came to their house, tied his parents' hands behind their backs, and forced them to stand in a pool of water up to their shoulders until Mohan's brothers could pay for their release. The couple were kept like this for 17 hours," Open Doors said.

"When Mohan got married, local people forced him and his wife to take part in a Hindu marriage ceremony, and would not allow them to perform a Christian wedding. When Mohan's father died, their Hindu relatives wouldn't allow him to be buried in the village; Mohan's family had to bury him in the jungle."

Open Doors says it has been helping people like Mohan's family recover and pay for medical expenses, and asked for Christians to pray and help support efforts reaching out to persecuted people in India.

There have been several recent reports of Hindu radicals attempting to convert Christians back to Hinduism.

International Christian Concern, another watchdog group, reported back in May that as many as 15 Christian families were forced to undergo such reconversion ceremonies in the Junwani village of Chhattisgarh over Easter.

"They can stop me from going to church but they cannot take Jesus from my heart. I will find ways and secretly come to church," one Christian who was forcefully reconverted told a local pastor at the time.

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