Pastor Ponnachan George, a senior leader of Gospel for Asia in India, is recovering in a hospital today after being held hostage for nearly a week by a terrorist group before he was finally released on Sunday.
GFA Founder and President K.P. Yohannan told The Christian Post on Monday that the terrorists targeted George because they believed they could ransom him for money. George is a prominent leader in the region – he oversees about 300 missionaries, 200 churches, 26 Bridge of Hope centers, three radio broadcasts and a Bible college – and he was the only person kidnapped by the terrorists.
"For years we have been doing tremendous amount of community development ... but all these things we do so that Christ's love can be communicated. So these terrorist groups must have concluded, 'These people have a lot of money, so you kidnap their leader and that means they have to give the money,'" said Yohannan. more >>
WASHINGTON – Some 100,000 ethnic Chins from Burma have fled torture and religious persecution in their homeland to take refuge in Mizoram state in eastern India, where they make up an astounding 10 percent of the population – but on paper – they don't exist.
This problem – the Chins' legal non-existence in Mizoram – brought together a panel of humanitarian experts on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., to raise awareness about the plight of this highly overlooked ethnic group – 90 percent of which is Christian – at a media event for the release of the 134-page report, "Seeking Refuge: The Chin People in Mizoram State, India."
"Partially due to difficulty with access into Chin state in Burma and Mizoram in India, there has been much less focus on the Chin situation than it really warrants," said Joel Charny, vice president for humanitarian policy and practice at Interaction, the largest alliance of U.S.-based relief and development organizations. more >>
NEW DELHI – A court has ordered the Jammu and Kashmir state government to temporarily halt criminal proceedings against a pastor accused of bribing Muslim youths to convert to Christianity.
The state's High Court on Feb. 11 halted proceedings in the police complaint of "promotion of religious enmity by conversions" against the Rev. Chander Mani Khanna of the Church of North India denomination. Responding to a petition by the pastor to quash the complaint, the court issued notices to top officials of the state's police department and interior ministry because investigators have not been able to formulate charges even though the case was registered last Oct. 29, Pastor Khanna told Compass by phone.
Pastor Khanna, who retired on Jan. 16 from All Saints Church in Kashmir Valley's Srinagar city, seemed relieved. more >>
India's first transgender pastor, a 25-year-old who is in charge of a small congregation in the southern city of Chennai, is from a leading evangelical denomination, whose bishop cautiously says his church's constitution does not bar a transgender from being ordained.
Pastor Bharathi, known only by her first name, is openly transgender and she is leading a congregation in Chengalpattu area on the suburbs of Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu state, Bishop Ezra Sargunam, head of the Evangelical Church of India, told The Christian Post.
Asked if the ECI has made a policy decision to allow the ordination of transgenders, Bishop Sargunam said the church's constitution is silent on it. more >>
Four Christian pastors have been expelled from Kashmir, Northern India, after they were accused of trying to convert youths into Christianity by bribing them with money.
Religious tensions in the Muslim-dominated province have historically been high, with a court system actively in place barring any attempts by missionaries to turn people towards Christ through financial means. Many stories circle the region of pastors being accused of bribing Indians with money.
The four local pastors in question, CM Khanna, Gayoor Massi, Chandra Kanta and Jim Borst, who were convicted of bribery on Jan. 19 and told to leave the province for "luring" Muslims to Christianity, were apparently exposed by a video filmed last year that shows one of the pastors baptizing Kashmiri boys, OnIslam.com reported. more >>
An Afghan Christian widow and three of her daughters were denied refugee status by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in New Delhi for the second time last month, and currently face imminent deportation to their home country where they could face imprisonment for apostasy and a potential death sentence.
The widow and her daughters, whose names have not been released for security reasons, received a deportation notice from the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs after their first application for asylum was rejected in October 2009, International Christian Concern (ICC), a global Christian advocacy group, informed The Christian Post. When the mother reapplied in July 2011 with her three daughters and a fourth daughter, who is widowed with a child, only the widowed daughter and the child were accepted. The others are no longer permitted to correspond with the UNHCR office and are currently living in India as illegal immigrants, ICC said.
"All members of the family left Afghanistan for the same reason, all of them are Christians, and all are facing the same kind of problem," Obaid S. Christ, a leader of the Afghan Christian community in New Delhi, told ICC. "If two members of the same family are recognized as refugees and four others are denied, there is definitely something wrong with the UNHCR judgment system. We believe that the UNHCR office blindly closed their application without making any inquiry, investigation, or considering the new facts and real danger that these women are facing back in their home country." more >>