Christians in Indian state fined for public worship

(Photo: REUTERS / Amit Dave)Volunteers of the Hindu nationalist organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) take part in a drill on the last day of their three-day workers' meeting in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad January 4, 2015.

Authorities in a village in Indian's eastern Jharkhand state have told Christians to stop worshiping Jesus publicly or face fines and face other consequences and reports from other states indicate Hindu extremists continue to apply pressure on those who follow Jesus in other states..

Christian leaders in the areas were forced to sign an agreement that they would worship only inside their homes, and that if they are caught worshiping publicly, they will pay a fine of 10,000 rupees ($150), The Christian Times reported July 10.

"We were forced to sign the bond, we have no other choice as we have nowhere else to stay except in the village," Pastor Sanjay Kumar Ravi told Morning Star News.

A large group of Hindus called for a meeting with 25 Christians representing six families on May 8. The Christians were taken to a school far from the village center where about 100 Hindu extremists were waiting.

Christians said Hindu extremists ordered them to stop their worship and also told them to perform rituals to Hindu gods.

The Christians, however, refused to carry out their demands, the newspaper reported.

Hundreds of thousands of Christians across India are faced with the ultimatum of hiding their faith, or risk harassment, intimidation, and even death, Christian Today had reported July 5.

Churches have faced increasing arson attacks on Christian property, and the harassment and violent abuse of new converts to Christianity in in India, where just 2.3 per cent of the population identifies with the faith.

The newspaper cited two young women who have experienced such persecution are naming the as Meena, aged 32, and her 25-year-old sister, Sunita (whose real identities are withheld to protect them).

They were badly beaten by some men from their village in Odisha state after news spread that they had converted to Christianity, but this did not deter them from praising God for their experiences.

"We knew about persecution in theory because the Bible speaks about it," Meena told researchers for Open Doors, a Christian charity focussing on persecution.

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