India: Christian couple refuse to renounce faith in face of death threats and banishment

Thursday, February 25, 2021

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - A husband and wife who refused to renounce their new-found faith in Christ have been banished and threatened with death if they return to their village home in India’s Odisha state, International Chrisitan Concern (ICC) reports. Jaga Padiami and his wife were driven from their home in the Malkangiri municipality after becoming Christians in December 2020.

The couple had accepted Jesus after visiting evangelists shared the Gospel with them: their faith decision caused consternation in their village of Kambawada. Accordingly, they were summoned to a meeting with the village chief, Koya Samaj.

At the meeting, Samaj demanded that the couple renounce their faith, but they each refused to do so, Samaj, therefore, gave them five days to reconsider, ICC said. Meanwhile, hearing of the couple’s refusal to give up Christ, their village neighbors began harassing them.

When the couple again appeared before the village chief, five days after the first meeting, they were told to renounce their faith or be banished from the village. In response, Padiami reportedly said: “Even though you will drive me out of the village, I will not leave Jesus Christ.”

Padiami’s answer enraged his neighbors, who threw their belongings out into the street and locked their home so they could not return. There were also reports of death threats being made against them: the couple was told they would be killed if they returned to the village without giving up their faith. Padiami reportedly filed a complaint with Malkangiri police, but no action was taken. The couple has had to relocate to another village in the area, ICC said.