A Hindu husband and father in Northern India has beaten his wife and four children who have refused to give up their Christian faith. Now, he is inciting the entire village to persecute his family.
Last week, Ramesh Kumar put an advertisement in a local newspaper warning the community that they should not help his family, who he threw out on the street because he did not want them attending church, British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) reports.
“If you did not stop going to church. I will drive you out from the house and file an [apostasy] case against you all since you have changed your religion,” Kumar said, according to the family’s account.
Kumar stopped providing for his family’s basic needs earlier this year. His oldest son, Neeraj, 23, used his meager income to provide for his mother and three siblings. But in October, Kumar went to his son’s employer and convinced the shop owner to fire his son, cutting the family’s only source of income.
“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 Modi regime came into power,” said Wilson Chowdhry, chairman of the British Asian Association.
The father has not stopped there. Kumar submitted a complaint with a fabricated story to the local police station in hopes of getting the attention of radical Hindus.
He claimed that his family forcefully took him to church and pressured him to change his religion. He said that when he refused to go they would tie him down and drag him to church.
The family was called into the police station and questioned about the situation on at least three occasions, but officers refuse to believe their side of the story.
They now face pressure from their community to renounce their faith.
“We will not stop going to the Church because we know Jesus is the True God who died for us,” the family told BPCA.
BPCA, local pastors, and other Christians are working to help this family.
A man identified as Pastor Ramesh has helped the family find a rented home and gave them his own gas cylinder, stove, and utensils, but that leaves him without these tools. He has asked other Christians to help but since they are poor they can’t do very much.
“Today I met Sunita and her two children while her two other children were at school, said British Asian Christian Association officer, Pastor Naresh. “When I heard their story their great pain was apparent. They have been abandoned by the community because of their faith and no one [except Pastor Ramesh] is coming forward to help them.”