ADVERTISING
 
Sunday, June 16   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 
Flecha
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 
 

POLL
30 years of internet...
Will digital natives and the "Gen Z" use new technologies with a better ethical/values reflection than the previous generation?



SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Odisha State
 

Hindu extremist mob tries to burn Pastor alive in India

The Christian leader was attacked while driving with family in a car. The police later found out that a hacker had spread an anti-Hindu message through Whatsapp using his phone number.

AUTHOR Morning Star News ODISHA STATE 28 NOVEMBER 2018 09:03 h GMT+1
Damage Hindu extremist mob did to Pastor John Lakras car. / Morning Star News

Pastor John Lakra was taking his 18-month-old baby to the hospital for emergency treatment in Odisha state, India when hundreds of Hindu extremists surrounded his car.



The pastor, his wife and their three children were on the way to the hospital in Sundargarh at about 7 p.m. on Oct. 23 when the mob began hurling stones at them and hitting the windows with rods as they shouted curses at him, he said.



“There were so many people that we could not even try get out there”, Pastor Lakra said. “We could not even see through the windows. My children and wife were crying. I did not know what to do”.



Earlier he had received word that Hindu extremists were looking for him regarding a text message and photo insulting the Hindu goddess Durga that a hacker had sent from his phone. He thought they only meant to talk with him.



“Soon, they pulled me out of the car, slapped and beat me black and blue,” Pastor Lakra told Morning Star News. “They ripped off my clothes. Not a single part of my body was left unstruck”.



After throwing him onto the road and kicking him, they picked him up and forced him onto a motorcycle, he said. With hundreds following, they took him to a Durga idol and forced him to kneel before it even as they continued beating him, he said.



“Then they poured a gallon of petrol on me”, he said. “Right there, I was praying in my heart. I said, ‘Lord! I submit myself to you. May this bring Glory only to you’. While I was praying, I was so moved by the Holy Spirit. There was so much pain that I have not done enough, that I must share about my Lord’s love to so many, my journey is not over yet. These words rumbled in my heart.”



Hindus shouted that he should be given as a live sacrifice to the goddess, the pastor said.



“After they poured petrol on me, miraculously there was a blackout [power out]”, Pastor Lakra told Morning Star News. “And within minutes, police reached the spot and rescued me”.



Christians in Odisha practice their faith with awareness of how Hindu extremists burned to death Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons, 10-year-old Philip and 6-year-old Timothy, in their car in the state’s Manoharpur village on Jan. 23, 1999.



 



JAILED AND CHARGED



At the police station, church members informed Pastor Lakra that hospital staff members managed to pull his wife and children from the mob, he said. They also brought him some clothes.



Local Hindu extremists from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to the police station and demanded that he render an apology, he said.



“I agreed to it since the text had been forwarded by my number”, Pastor Lakra said. “I apologized for it and for hurting their feelings. But their leaders refused to forgive me and had put pressure on police that they must lodge an FIR [First Information Report] against me”.



Sundargarh police booked him for “deliberate and malicious acts to outrage religious feelings” (Section 295-A of the Indian Penal Code), “promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion” (Section 153-A) and “criminal intimidation” (Section 506).



A judge rejected his plea for bail, and he spent 10 days in jail. The pastor received bail only after an inspector from the Central Bureau of Investigation found that a hacker had forwarded the derogatory message from another source using Pastor Lakra’s WhatsApp account. The pastor was released on Nov. 1.



He told Morning Star News he did not send the message insulting the Hindu goddess and did not know how it got sent from his phone to the 200 people in his WhatsApp group.



“The post in Odiya language is a widely believed mythological theory about the birth and life of goddess Durga,” he said. “I did not know it until I received screenshots from friends with my name and number as the one who circulated it.”



The message was sent on Oct. 21, a Sunday, he said.



“It was a Sunday, and we gather in thousands for worship services in Sundargarh, and I was very busy,” he said. “I received so many calls from my school and college friends, and I told them that I do not know how the message got forwarded from my number.”



Pastor Lakra, formerly a Hindu known as Shankar Kumar Lakra, on Oct. 23 had set out for Bagdi, 36 miles far from Sundargarh, on an errand to enable orphans to receive funding from the state government for their education.



“When I was in Bagdi, I received information that they are on the look-out for me, but I thought it must be only to talk about the post”, he said. “I was totally oblivious of their plans to attack me. After I came back home, my 18-month-old baby fell sick, and we had to take him to the hospital. While we were packing up to leave for the hospital, one of my schoolmate’s brother called me and asked, “Hey Shankar! Where are you man? We want to meet you.”. I told him, ‘Brother, I am at home. The baby fell sick, so we are going to the hospital.’”



The baby has since been treated at the hospital.



 



PRIOR FALSE CHAGE



Pastor Lakra has faced opposition before.



After graduating from a Bible college in 2011, he built a prayer center for healing the sick. About 15,000 people from all religions and classes of society came for prayer, and many who were healed put their faith in Christ and attended worship services, he said.



“I have seen opposition when the high-caste Hindus and family members of RSS and Bajrang Dal activists came to know Jesus,” he said. “They hurled stones at the building, and I received threats. But the Lord helped us establish churches in six districts in Odisha state. And in Sundargarh, we now have several such prayer centers assembling on weekends and praying for the sick.”



In 2015 Hindu relatives of Lakra joined RSS leaders and other hard-line Hindus to file a case against him alleging that he had mixed poison into water served during Christmas season services. Police charged him with attempted murder, and he was in jail for 13 days before he was released for lack of evidence.



“Police could not find any evidence against me, but the case is still on and I have to go to the court whenever they call,” he said.



Since his release following the Oct. 23 attack, unknown people have knocked on his doors, broken light bulbs and damaged flower pots, he said. Also, a woman recently came to his home saying she knew many key BJP leaders and demanded 200,000 rupees (US$2,835) to close the cases against him, Pastor Lakra said.



The hostile tone of the National Democratic Alliance government, led by the Hindu nationalist BJP, against non-Hindus, has emboldened Hindu extremists in several parts of the country to attack Christians since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took power in May 2014, religious rights advocates say.



India ranked 11th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2018 World Watch List of countries where Christians experience the most persecution.


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - Hindu extremist mob tries to burn Pastor alive in India
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels

An interview with the socio-political representative of the European Evangelical Alliance about how evangelical Christians work at the heart of the European Union.

 
Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

 
Testimony: Wildfires near Athens Testimony: Wildfires near Athens

Nico Spies, a Christian worker in Athens, gives details about the wildfires in Greece.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Glimpses of the ELF 2019 conference Glimpses of the ELF 2019 conference

Evangelical leaders from across Europe meet in Wisla (Poland) to network for mission in a range of fields. The vision is to renew the biblical church and evangelise Europe.

 
AEA Plaza opens to serve African evangelicals AEA Plaza opens to serve African evangelicals

After many years of labour, the Association of Evangelicals in Africa officially opened its new centre in Nairobi, Kenya. “Africa, your time has come!”, said the World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General Efraim Tendero.

 
‘Small churches, big potential for transformation’ ‘Small churches, big potential for transformation’

Photos of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance’s annual gathering “Idea 2019”, in Murcia. Politicians and church leaders discussed about the role of minorities in society.

 
VIDEO Video
 
Mercy Ships volunteers perform 100,000th free surgical procedure Mercy Ships volunteers perform 100,000th free surgical procedure

The milestone represents an important point in the nonprofit’s 40-year legacy.

 
What are the most important truths that Christians should seek to convey in a secular context? What are the most important truths that Christians should seek to convey in a secular context?

Espen Ottosen talks about the truths Christians should share with people who have little knowledge and/or many prejudices about Christian belief.  

 
A 50-metre high monument will encourage Britons to pray A 50-metre high monument will encourage Britons to pray

Thousands of visitors will have the chance to discover “the God who is alive who listens and answers prayers”.

 
John Lennox on Acts John Lennox on Acts

Professor John Lennox  examines the three supernatural events in the first three chapters of Acts: Jesus' ascension, the Holy Spirit's descent at Pentecost, and the healing of a lame man by the Apostles.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.