India High Court Voids Arrest Warrant for Hopegivers Founder

India’s Supreme Court has voided an outstanding arrest warrant for the founder of one of India’s largest mission groups and has set his hearing before the Rajasthan court for Friday.

The 72-year-old Bishop M.A. Thomas was forced into hiding for more than two months because of death threats from radicals and persecution by local authorities, according to a report by Hopegivers International released on Tuesday.

“This is great news,” said Hopegivers COO Michael Glenn, after his return from a fact-finding mission to the Indian capital of New Delhi, “but we still need to keep praying and writing letters.”

Glenn led a delegation from Hopegivers’ International board of directors to New Delhi to try to understand the violent campaign of persecution against Bishop Thomas and the his son, Hopegivers Co-Founder Dr. Samuel Thomas, in the state of Rajasthan.

The younger Thomas has been in jail for more than 33 days on the charges of “creating communal disharmony.” His bail hearing has been delayed three times and has now been set for Apr. 24.

Among those on the trip was the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Columbus, Ga., who reported that the trip was successful.

“The letter writing campaign to the Indian leadership is working wonderfully,” said Dr. Don Wilhite. “We met many top leaders and they are very aware of Dr. Sam’s situation and sympathetic to what the Christians are going through in Rajasthan. We met with the highest leaders of India –as well as with the U.S. ambassador, human rights leaders and Hindu religious leaders. We are confident that our efforts will lead to greater awareness and more religious freedom in India.”

The Hopegivers International delegation, which included Hopegivers board members Robbie Robinette and Pastor Wilhite, was accompanied by Executive Director of the Policy Institute for Religion and State John Prabhudoss. The delegation met with the U.S. ambassador and other American officials, Indian church leaders such as the Rev. Dr. Donald H.R. De Souza, the director of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India; Dr Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians; and Dr. John Dayal, member of the National Integration Council. They also met Hindu leaders such as Pandit K. Sharma and Swami Agnivesh and minority rights activists Mohammad Hamid Ansari and Qari Mohammad Mian Mazhari.