Hopegivers Founder Granted Freedom on Bail

The founder of one of the largest mission groups working in India was granted freedom on bail last Friday by the Indian Supreme Court in New Delhi.

“The decision provides welcome relief from a vicious campaign of persecution against Christians in the lower courts of Rajasthan, a north Indian state controlled by the radically anti-Christian BJP government,” wrote a Hopegivers’ report released on Apr. 23.

Bishop M.A. Thomas, after more than two months of forced hiding following the issuing of an arrest warrant and a $26,000 bounty on his head - was declared free on bail on Apr. 21.

Furthermore, in the same Supreme Court hearing as Bishop M.A. Thomas, bail was also granted to the Rev. V.S. Thomas, the executive director of the large orphanage supported by Hopegivers in Kota, Rajasthan. Pastor Thomas (not related to Bishop M.A. Thomas) has been held for 61 days in jail as part of a persecution campaign against Christians by government authorities in the state.

“We praise the Lord for this decision—now we pray that this positive movement in the Supreme Court will help to speed up the process by which bail will be granted for Dr. Samuel Thomas,” said Pastor Thomas’ wife Shelley Thomas, Program Director for Hopegivers International.

However, Bishop M.A. Thomas’ son and Hopegivers’ president, Dr. Samuel Thomas, remains in prison and his bail was considered on Monday. The Hopegivers president and co-founder has been held in Rajasthan for 41 days with reports in Kota indicating that “Dr. Sam” is doing well and has been singing, rejoicing, and even using his dinner plate as a drum to make music as he worship along with the other Hopegivers prisoners.

These recent attacks against Hopegivers resulted from a combined effort by several anti-Christian groups in recent months in an attempt to shut down the work of Hopegivers International, according to Hopegivers. These groups have lately used legal harassment with the assistance of politicized local authorities.

Moreover, a legal team for the radical groups claims they are preparing 14 more suits against the Christian humanitarian organization that cares for 10,000 orphaned or abandoned children.

“They are determined to shut down the work of the Lord in Rajasthan. But God is greater and will deliver us from all of our troubles as we pray,” said Mrs. Thomas.