PERSECUTION RELIEF ANNUAL REPORT CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION

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1 PERSECUTION RELIEF ANNUAL REPORT CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION IN INDIA

2 OUR GOAL To ensure freedom to worship Jesus Christ in India OUR MOTTO Serving Persecuted Loving Persecutors 2

3 CONTENTS Founder s Note 05 Persecution Relief Organization 06 Key highlights Persecution Relief s 09 Upcoming Major events for 2017 What we believe 10 Statistics 12 YTD State Wide Contributor Christian Persecution - Top 10 States 14 Forms of Persecution 17 List of State Abbreviations 18 Contact details Persecution Relief Annual Report 3

4 I trust you will be encouraged by this report as you see how God has been at work through the various lives touched and the beauty of Christ shining through them 4

5 FOUNDER S NOTE Persecution Relief (PR) Organization is privileged and humbled to present its first ever Annual Report for PR was birthed by the Holy Spirit in July We are 19 months young and very nascent. While there is much to be done, our model is Jesus Christ and our accomplishments are defined by the cross by service, humility and sacrificial love. The Annual Report includes a selection of hope filled real like incidents of what this extraordinary God is doing in and through ordinary, simple folks to glorify His name. PR has prayerfully, financially, judicially, politically supported the 348 cases that were reported in the past year. Full Financial support has been extended to all the widows of martyrs, orphans and other servants of God, across India, from the abundance of His grace and the generosity and philanthropy of our donors. Since the launch of our website persecutionrelief.org, our footprint and reach throughout India has been tremendous; also through all Social Media sites truly a journey of growth and development. Glory be to His name. of work, as we actively continue to expand our operations. We have partnered with over 20,000 Churches across India, seeking prayer support and information sharing about all persecution related cases, so that we can extend comprehensive support to the victims. I give thanks for every heart that has been touched, every life that has been transformed, every family and relationship that has been restored all as a result of Christ s amazing work on the cross and the courage and determination of the servants of God, to be the light and salt in this world. I trust you will be encouraged by this report as you see how He has been at work through the various lives touched and the beauty of Christ shining through them. Last but no means the least, I want to thank my loyal staff at Persecution Relief base office, who have tirelessly worked to generate this report and establish a significant logistics network across India. My heartfelt gratitude to each of you. Some of you lifted your pen; all worked together. Thank you. Shibu Thomas, Founder It has been a joy and privilege to partner with you, shining the spotlight on Christ and His Persecuted Church. On behalf of Persecution Relief, I would like to thank all the Church Leaders, Pastors, Priests, Partner Churches, Prayer Warriors, our Coordinators in the 29 States of India and Persecution Relief family members, who have partnered with us through our first year of operation. I am encouraged by your faith in our body Persecution Relief Annual Report 5

6 PERSECUTION RELIEF ORGANIZATION KEY HIGHLIGHTS Our flagship company Persecution Relief organization, (PR) is an interdenominational initiative, established in July 2015, under the Holy Spirit s guidance, providing comprehensive support to the persecuted Church in India. This platform provides prayerful, financial, judicial and political support. Our focus is not only to pray for the Persecuted Christian Church but also to pray for the Persecutors. We believe in the coming days many Persecutors will accept Jesus Christ as their Personal Savior. It has been our experience that when we pray with a God-given burden in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, with faith, it has been the key to success. Persecution Relief has come this far only through the Prayer support of the Church in India. OUR MISSION To provide comprehensive support to the persecuted Church in India, by linking it to the Free Church of the world. 6

7 REPORT OF PERSECUTION RELIEF S CONTRIBUTION TO THE PERSECUTED CHURCH IN INDIA 2016 Persecution Relief (PR) and our Volunteers across India, have served 100 s of persecuted believers in 2016, working together wholeheartedly and tirelessly, to propel the gospel of Jesus Christ forward. We have given generously of our time, abilities and resources - driven by the Holy Spirit, through prayer and boldness inspired by the love of Jesus Christ. Persecution Relief is a forerunner, putting our faith into action, working across denominational lines, being ready for every good deed, providing comprehensive support (Prayerful, Financial, Political & Judicial) to our persecuted brethren knowing that our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the powers of evil, firmly planted on the truth of God s word. Persecution Relief envisions that every persecuted believer must continue to passionately serve the Lord, stand strong and advancing with the gospel across India, while we continue to support them, by standing united, meeting all their needs, for His glory. Persecution Relief s vast network, picks up threads of aberration as they crop up across the Country, reporting breaking news as quickly as possible, capturing events accurately as they occur, illuminating them with eyewitnesses and firsthand information, photos, audio interviews and videos recordings; being the voice of the persecuted Christian, which has been reduced to a footnote, in the larger narrative on communal and ethnic violence in the India. PERSECUTION RELIEF ORGANIZATION HAS ASSISTED THE PERSECUTED CHRISTIAN CHURCH by providing holistic support to the widows and orphaned children of martyred Christians, many of whom were struggling to survive by responding swiftly and decisively, providing emergency financial, medical, court and lawyer fees, etc. for those who were struggling to cope with the impact of persecution by providing consistent and regular monthly financial support to the martyred widows by helping relocate displaced believers who have endured persecution and boycott by the local villagers and for their beliefs by helping exonerate and secure the release of believers who had been wrongfully convicted and imprisoned, serving long sentences by providing regular virtual counselling to persecuted Christians, providing advocacy and encouragement, through the wisdom received from God by providing replacement and restoration of Church equipment, Bibles, furniture, infrastructure etc. which were damaged, robbed or destroyed by persecutors by partnering and synergizing with over 20,000 Churches and major Christian Mission Organizations across India by networking and affiliating with Christian Schools and Colleges, to provide free education for children of persecuted families, to transform the community by providing for children who come from vulnerable families where the parent has been persecuted, boarding facilities at hostels where they are adequately cared for by raising awareness on the plight and suffering of persecuted Christians, religious freedom rights abuses, and highlighting the repressive laws that severely curb the freedom to worship Christ by creating awareness among believers to love the Persecutors who use Persecution Relief Annual Report 7

8 violence to polarize the community; instead to fast and pray that they are converted by educating the believer not to return insult for insult in retaliation but to respond in a manner that is unnatural, displaying the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit. PR does not encourage the filing of FIR s but turning the other cheek as Jesus did by launching our bi-monthly Newspaper Voice of the Christians, which broadcasts stories of Indian Christian persecution and other allied Christian news across India and Internationally, which are ignored or downplayed by mainstream media by initiating several on-line petitions to the public to bring awareness on the pressing issues and injustice being perpetrated against Christians by honoring the martyred and persecuted families at 2 large Christian Conventions publicly, by providing visibility, exposure and acceptance within the larger family of Christ; in order to build and stir up their faith; where over 30,000 believers made a commitment to pray for the persecuted Christians, which had lakhs of viewership across the world by adopting the 700+ districts of India, with a burden and call to prayer for the persecuted & persecutors by encouraging the Church leaders across India, to be Christ s witnesses unto all men, holding fast to their testimony, being steadfast role models, and to continue in the power of the Holy Spirit without counting the cost by recognizing the value of the youth, sowing Godly seeds, making them aware of the present situation and positioning them to attain their God-ordained destiny ADDITIONALLY Persecution Relief is well equipped with: Dedicated prayer telephone lines and online sites where believers can submit their petitions and teams are praying for the persecuted Church 24 x 7 TOLL FREE NO: to give easy access and reach to all Christians, for any need related to the Persecuted Church WhatsApp Groups connecting more than 10,000 Christian Leaders / Pastors across the 29 states of India International WhatsApp Groups connecting leaders from Australia, Canada, Middle East, UK, USA, etc. Access and connectivity to the world through Social Media, Face Book & Twitter with reach to over a million of believers generating massive awareness and prayer Persecution Relief Radio App. Available for free at itunes and Android store where testimonies from the persecuted Church, Bible messages for the encouragement of the Church, Christian Songs (English, Hindi & Malayalam), are broad casted A PRO Team that talks to Police officials, government officials, and legal academics, influencing opinion, communicating and building support, to meet the ends of justice Prayer is lifted up 24 x 7 for the Persecutors we have partnered with Legal Organisations who have a network of Christian Lawyers across India key source of up-to-date and trustworthy 100% accurate news on the persecution of Christians by encouraging youngsters to cooperate with the call of God on their lives, to receive the mantle that is as per God s appointing 8

9 PERSECUTION RELIEF S UPCOMING MAJOR EVENTS FOR 2017 Persecution Relief will observe 22nd July as the Indian Christian Martyrdom Day which will be an annual event, to honour Bharat ki Beti (name changed) who was raped and murdered and to salute the martyrdom of Christian soldiers, who lost their lives defending their faith in Jesus Christ As God has commanded us to pray, Persecution Relief will observe 01st October, as the Indian Prayer Day for Persecuted, uniting all Churches across India, transcending differences and doctrines, in corporate prayer * This day is to commemorate and honor our prayer answering God, where Pr. Pastor George who was imprisoned for 666 days, was acquitted of rape charges only by the power of prayer. Prayer can do the impossible let s unite for prayer Indian Prayer Day for Persecutors The Word of God instructs us to love our enemies. This day will mobilize Christians to corporate prayer, coming together as the hands of Jesus Christ, to impact the lives and hearts of the persecutors. Just like the conversion of Saul to Paul, we need to pray and even love those who persecute us PARAN an offshoot of Persecution Relief, will be a refuge center extraordinaire, to house widows and children of martyrs, and persecuted believers forsaken by the community, providing adequate care and restoration Christian Martyr s Museum: Christian Martyr s Museum located at PARAN, will be the first of its kind in Asia, in recognition and remembrance of the Christian Martyrs in India, who laid down their lives for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ in India 9

10 RECOGNIZE THAT IT IS A SPIRITUAL WARFARE WHAT WE BELIEVE PR S VIEW ABOUT CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION The Bible clearly teaches that the church will go through the great tribulation before Jesus comes, and that many of God s saints will be killed during that time (Rev.13:7). Incidents of violence against Christians have always existed in one form or another. This refining and purging will carry on until the end of time (Dan.11:35), so that God can fulfill His goal of conforming us to the likeness of Christ. So, we must not expect an easy time on earth, until Jesus comes. In the world, we will always have tribulation. As God s commands us, we need to: REMAIN ROOTED AND GROUNDED IN LOVE We believe that the greatest manifestation of HATRED this world ever saw was at the crucifixion of Jesus; and the greatest manifestation of LOVE was also seen on the same cross. When Jesus defeated Satan on the cross, He demonstrated that hatred can be overcome only by love and that evil can be overcome only by good. This is the love the Pearl of great cost, that we are called to manifest to others here on earth. Forgiveness of sins is free. But this love is costly. It is a great honor to be martyred for the cause of Jesus Christ. Not everyone has this calling. If we are true Disciples of Christ, we will find ourselves in conflict with the entire religious system of this world. Jesus said they hated and persecuted Him because they didn t know His Father. They will do the same thing to us. We read in Daniel 11:33, that in the last days, godly people will be attacked, imprisoned and killed. True servants of God are always persecuted. We do not fight against such people, because we refuse to fight with flesh and blood (Eph.6:12). We fight only with Satan, and we leave it to the angel of the Lord to deal with all our human opponents. FORGIVE OUR PERSECUTORS In Acts, Stephen boldly preached the Gospel. They hit and stoned Stephen (Acts 7:54-60). As he was dying he looked into Heaven and saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God. He then looked at his persecutors and asked God s forgiveness on them. As with many martyrs through the centuries, Stephen was killed by the religious establishment. Those who passionately stand for the cause of Christ will be persecuted by those who have built their own idea of God. The Lord can build His church only with those who are determined to respond IN LOVE, to all people, at all times. The gates of hell will never be able to prevail against such a church or against such a home. 10

11 TO SUBMIT TO AUTHORITIES TO BE AMBASSADORS OF THE PRINCE OF PEACE PR does not advocate filing counter FIR s or lodging any protest or taking out a rally. Our standard in every area is higher under the new covenant. We are to be servants like Jesus. Sin originated in rebellion, long before Adam was created. The highest archangel rebelled against God s authority and became Satan immediately. That is why rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft (1 Samuel 15:23) - for a rebellious spirit brings one in touch with evil spirits, just as much as witchcraft does. Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves? A man who experiences the true grace of God will always submit to authority wherever he goes. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God. Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace shows us that peace is always the priority, never our personal agendas. Earthly rulers can forge a fragile peace with other nations, but who can offer us peace within ourselves? And no man promises peace with God. The Prince of Peace stands high above the kings of the earth, and we are the recipients of his greatness! God has kept us on earth to demonstrate this great eternal truth that love is more powerful than hatred and that good is more powerful than evil. Let us take our calling seriously. Isaiah s vision of the Prince of Peace offers tremendous hope, blessing, and affirmation for Christians. Far more than using the words, let s really know the Prince of Peace! Persecution Relief Annual Report 11

12 STATISTICS SCOPE AND COVERAGE This research was undertaken with data that was sourced through Persecution Relief s Contact Center points namely: Toll Free number / WhatsApp Groups created across every state/ Persecution Relief Centre contacts in State and lastly direct calls to the Founder. Once contact is made, interviews are conducted to establish authenticity of the case, proof reviewed through photographs, videos are validated etc. Locally, the teams are mobilized to provide whatever support (prayer, judiciary, financial is required) and brethren rehabilitated to continue to serve the Lord at the same location. Overall, data in each state have 0 margin of error and is 100% accurate The cases chronicled here are only a fraction of actual violence perpetuated and reported on the ground. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This analysis is to highlight anti-christian violence that is becoming widespread across India. Although the data assumes higher number of persecution cases mostly across north Indian states, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana and Kerala are some southern states that are also featuring on this list. Chhattisgarh is the leading state with 45 cases - the highest number of Christian persecution cases reported so far. Uttar Pradesh comes in second with 39 cases. Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu follow with 31 and 29 cases respectively. Madhya Pradesh (28 cases), Telangana (24 cases), Karnataka (21 cases) needs close watching. The persecution cases peaked in the month of June (40) and December (38) cases. The lowest number of cases recorded were in the month of January with 15 cases. On an average, it is assumed that around 29 cases are lodged every month. 12

13 YTD STATE WIDE CONTRIBUTOR 2016 State Dec Nov. Oct. Sep. Aug. Jul. Jun. May. Apr. Mar. Feb. Jan. Total % Chhattisgarh % Uttar Pradesh % Jharkhand % Tamil Nadu % Madhya Pradesh % Telangana % Karnataka % Online news % Maharashtra % Odisha % Kerala % Punjab % Bihar % Rajasthan % Haryana % Assam % Gujarat % Uttarakhand % New Delhi % West Bengal % Andhra Pradesh % Nagaland % Goa % Jammu & Kashmir % Manipur % Total % 13

14 CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION - TOP 10 STATES 13% 11% 9% 8% 7% 7% 6% 5% 4% 4% CG UP JK TN MP TG KA MH OR KR Month Count Jan 15 Feb 31 Mar 36 Apr 33 May 24 Jun 40 Jul 21 Aug 31 Sept 28 Oct 27 Nov 24 Dec 38 Total

15 TOP 10 PERSECUTED STATES - Qtr. IV g OLN g TN g RJ g MH Others 27% OLN 12% TN 9% g CG g JH RJ 9% g KL g KA UP 4% MP 4% MH 7% g MP g UP KA 4% KL 4% JH 7% CG 6% g OTHERS TOP 10 PERSECUTED STATES - Qtr. III g CG g MP g JH g BR g UP g ONLINE NEWS g MA g KA KL 4% AS 5% KA 5% BR 5% Others 24% MA 6% JH 8% CG 14% UP 11% ONLINE NEWS 9% MP 10% g AS g KL g OTHERS Persecution Relief Annual Report 15

16 TOP 10 PERSECUTED STATES - Qtr. II BR 4% PB 3% g CG g JH OR 7% CG 15% TG 7% g UP g MP KA 8% JH 15% g TN g KA TN 11% UP 15% g TG g OR MP 15% g BR g PB TOP 10 PERSECUTED STATES - Qtr. I g CG g TG g MP g UP g TN g PB KA 5% KA 7% OR 2% MH 4% JA 5% OT 7% CG 17% UP 16% g KA g KR g JA g MH PB 7% MP 10% TN 11% TG 10% g OR g OTHERS (OT) 16

17 FORMS OF PERSECUTION Description Total Threats & harassment 140 Church attack 106 Physical violence 75 False allegations 70 Policy impunity 28 Ostracized 23 Arrested 16 Believers punished and penalized 16 Hate campaign 13 Christian Institution attack 8 Murdered 8 Punish and penalize illegally 6 Abducted 4 Attempted murder 4 Detained at Police Station 3 House Church - Christian Houses damaged 3 Anti-Christian propaganda 2 Attempted suicide 1 Christian owners shops destroyed 1 Christian Peace rally stopped 1 Raped and murdered 1 Believers detained in Police Station 1 Total 530 # 530 is the count of offenses recorded (for e.g. If Church attacked Church destroyed, pastor beaten, congregation threatened, furniture destroyed then in 1 case 4 offenses are recorded. Hence the recorded cases by PR are 348 vs recorded offenses are 530.) There is a systematic rise in the number of violent attacks on Christians which is due to a campaign of destruction carried out by local Hindu fundamentalists. Of the 348 persecution cases logged with Persecution Relief, our analysis shows some shocking trends: Threats and harassment leads the trend in the form of persecution, where Christians brothers are suppressed, attacked, vilified, lied about. Terrifying Church attacks both on the physical building, ransacked, arson attacks, worship service disrupted, gun shots fired to intimidate, building razed to the ground in ruble, destroyed to name a few. Physical violence often with extreme brutality. Most of the victims were women, children and the elderly, who cannot escape and sometimes murdered. Police impunity - The heinous crimes and cases of police brutality, killings of civilians, and disappearances, unlawful detention, lack of accountability is astounding. The sheer audacity of the State Police who have turned into assailants when they ought to have been the protector is on the rise. Christian from Hindu background, forced to reconvert to Hinduism through intimidation by religious fundamentalists last year. Families have been forced into hiding after they faced harassment and beatings from their community for leaving Hinduism to become Christian. False allegation of conversion charges is on the rise. Religious fundamentalists threaten Christians with violence and expulsion from their jobs and homes, often accusing Christians of forcing or luring Hindu and tribal people into converting to Christianity Persecution Relief Annual Report 17

18 LIST OF STATE ABBREVIATIONS S. No. State/ UT Abbreviation 1 Andhra Pradesh AP 2 Arunachal Pradesh AR 3 Assam AS 4 Bihar BR 5 Chhattisgarh CG 6 Goa GA 7 Gujarat GJ 8 Haryana HR 9 Himachal Pradesh HP 10 Jammu and Kashmir JK 11 Jharkhand JH 12 Karnataka KA 13 Kerala KL 14 Madhya Pradesh MP 15 Maharashtra MH 16 Manipur MN 17 Meghalaya ML 18 Mizoram MZ 19 Nagaland NL 20 Orissa OR 21 Punjab PB 22 Rajasthan RJ 23 Sikkim SK 24 Tamil Nadu TN 25 Telangana TG 26 Tripura TR 27 Uttarakhand UK 28 Uttar Pradesh UP 29 West Bengal WB 30 Andaman and Nicobar Islands AN 31 Chandigarh CH 32 Dadra and Nagar Haveli DH 33 Daman and Diu DD 34 Delhi DL 35 Lakshadweep LD 36 Pondicherry PY 18

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