A Hindu father has reportedly beaten and thrown out his wife and four children who decided to convert to Christianity, cutting them off financially and demanding they abandon their devotion to Jesus.
The British Pakistani Christian Association reported on Saturday that the family of Ramesh Kumar, the Hindu patriarch, is struggling to make ends meet in the State of Haryana in Northern India as winter approaches, but the mother and her four children have so far refused pressure to reconvert.
Kumar declared in February that he would no longer tolerate his family attending a Christian church for worship, and allegedly beat his wife and his children for their faith, officially repudiating them in September.
The eldest son, 23-year-old Neeraj, has been using his small wage as a shop clerk to provide for his mother and three siblings, who are all still students. But in October, Kumar forced his son's employer to stop offering him a wage.
Kumar claimed in a police report that his family tried to forcefully make him go to church and change his religion, and alleged that his son threatened to kill him if he did not become a Christian.
The Christians have denied the allegations before police. Yet officials joined extended family members in demanding that the Christians end the family feud by rejecting their Christianity, according to with BPCA.
The children and mother have said, however, that the persecution they are facing only strengthens their faith in Jesus.
"We will not stop going to the church because we know Jesus is the true God who died for us," they said.
BPCA fears that the family is in danger of attacks, however, given that last week Kumar placed an ad in a local newspaper alleging that his family members attacked him.
Kumar also disowned his family in the ad, and said he is not responsible for what happens to them.
Christians in a number of Indian provinces have faced violent beatings for their faith, and have been falsely accused by authorities and Hindu radicals of trying to forcefully convert people.
Pastor Naresh Paul, lead officer for British Asian Christian Association, said that he met with the family and revealed that the community has abandoned them, with no one but a local pastor coming to help them.
The BPCA is collecting donations in support of the Christians and has listed the significant financial hardships they face for their commitment to their faith.
"The disownment of his children by a patriarch has left this family very vulnerable. They have been targeted by a father who is caught up in the religious zeal that has become more commonplace in India since the [Narendra] Modi regime came into power," said BPCA Chairman Wilson Chowdhry.
"Proliferation of anti-minority propaganda, and a biased national curriculum that continues to demonize other faiths, has had the effect of polarizing communities. Moreover a growing number of incidents of minority persecution, is a poor indictment of Indian society which lacks harmony and tolerance in many regions."
In October, a group of drunken Hindu nationalists savagely beat a Christian pastor in southern India, accusing him of forceful conversions after five families decided to become Christians.
Pastor Banothu Sevya was left in a coma for two days following the assault near Jamandlapalli village, which came after hardline Hindu groups warned him against converting tribal families in the region.
The pastor's wife, Banothu Anusha, said that the attackers "attempted to murder" her husband, who was left with blood clots in the cerebral area, brain coordination problems, injury to his eye and a damaged eardrum.