Just before Hadi was beaten for sharing the gospel in India, he witnessed God working in the hearts of his friends.

While at a birthday party on April 19, 2015, he began talking to others about Jesus. About 30 people at the party — including the man celebrating his birthday — were eager to learn more about Christ. But 20 minutes into the discussion, a group of Hindu militants showed up at the party and interrupted Hadi.

“Are you a Christian?” one asked.

“Yes,” Hadi replied.

“You are changing these people’s religion,” the militant said. “We should finish [you].”

Hadi clutched his Bible to his chest, but they ripped it out of his hands.

“You will not see tomorrow’s sun,” another member of the group told him.

The militants began beating him in the chest and kicking him in the groin. Hadi’s friend, Sahib, tried to stop the attack, and they asked him if he was a Christian, too. When he told them he was, they hit Sahib in the head with a club and beat him on the chest with a large piece of wood. Another attacker pulled a knife and slashed Hadi on the cheek, shoulder and back. Two of his ribs were fractured in the attack.

Fearing Hadi would be killed, Sahib begged the attackers to stop beating him. Eventually, Hadi fell unconscious.

The attackers finally left, thinking Hadi was dead.

The Death of a Friend

A man at the birthday party took Hadi and Sahib to his house, where they received first aid and recovered briefly before going to a doctor.

When they returned to the Hindu doctor for follow-up care, he refused to treat Hadi because he had learned why he was attacked.

Both men’s conditions slowly worsened. Hadi underwent two kidney operations, and Sahib eventually died after undergoing liver and lung surgeries. VOM helped pay medical expenses for both Hadi and Sahib.

Sahib, who was about 60 years old when he died, became a Christian in late 2014 and was baptized the following spring. Before his death, he had begun to join Hadi on ministry trips to nearby villages. Although Sahib’s wife is a Christian, their son is not a believer and harbors anger toward Hadi for his father’s death.

“You and your Jesus killed my father,” he told Hadi. He slapped Hadi at Sahib’s funeral, and the vengeance didn’t stop there.

When Hadi returned home, he was summoned to the police station. Sahib’s son had filed a complaint against him.

“Are you Hadi?” a police officer asked. “Are you preaching about Jesus?”

“I’m telling people about the truth,” Hadi replied.

an elder teaches in a local church

Police officials immediately began to beat Hadi, re-injuring his ribs. They held him in jail for two days. Although Sahib’s wife did not want to pursue charges against Hadi, one of her family members saw it as a way of providing for her after her husband’s death. The family member asked Hadi to give her 250,000 Indian rupees, roughly $3,800.

On July 11, Hadi met with Sahib’s wife and son, along with two of their village leaders. He decided to bless the family by giving them the money, which VOM provided, and everyone signed as witnesses to the payment.

Hadi hopes to continue his ministry in his home city.

Mention Hell, Go to Prison

In a country of 1.28 billion people, only 2.2 percent (just over 28 million) are professing Christians, and reports indicate that persecution of Christians in India is increasing.

“Attacks on Christians and churches in India have definitely increased, and the number is likely even higher than we think because so many incidents go unreported,” a VOM worker said. “Christians and churches are feeling the strain of persecution through false accusations, imprisonments, churches being burned and beatings. The reports are coming from all over India, including places that have not seen this type of persecution before.”

Pastors are beaten, abducted and charged with “forced conversions,” and Christians are often evicted from their villages and even killed. In one instance, a family was denied the right to bury an elderly Christian woman because she didn’t contribute money for Hindu festivals.

In November 2019, a ninth Indian state implemented an anti-conversion law. Himachal Pradesh state joins Tamil Nadu, Arunachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha states in enacting a Freedom of Religion Act that discourages Christian evangelism. Under the law, Hindu nationalists can push for the arrest of Christian workers by merely making a complaint.

The laws prohibit causing a person’s conversion from one religion to another through force, allurement or fraudulent means. Because of the law’s vagueness, even a mention of hell can be considered a forceful means of conversion. The law also requires people to inform authorities about their conversion, seeking permission before they convert.

One of VOM’s primary purposes is to provide immediate assistance to our brothers and sisters in Christ when they experience persecution. In Hadi’s case, VOM provided medical treatment and, as the need arose, legal assistance. In India and elsewhere, hiring a lawyer to file the proper paperwork is often all that is needed to help an evangelist avoid prison.

Our response to incidents of persecution is always directed by specific need. In 2015, VOM’s responses to incidents of persecution affected 60,000 families in more than 60 countries. VOM assists persecuted Christians with food, shelter, clothing, education for children of martyrs, job training, microbusiness tools, legal assistance, support for families of imprisoned Christians, and safe houses. VOM also helped provide medical assistance to 700 believers who had suffered significant injuries during persecution incidents.

Indian Christians Beaten by Hindu Militants
Categories: Stories from the Field

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