By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) - A pastor has paid tribute to eight Christian families driven out of their village in eastern India earlier this year due to their “strong faith” in Jesus Christ.
Extremists also destroyed the families' homes during the April attack in the remote Sikapai village in the Rayagada district of Odisha state, Christians said.
Initially, the Christian families were not allowed to recover belongings before police intervened to calm the situation, according to rights activists.
The families have since taken refuge in a forest nearby, Worthy News learned. Of the 40 families in Sikapai, only eight are Christian, Christians said.
In published comments, a local pastor, who was not identified amid security concerns, praised the “strong faith in Jesus since they converted from the Kui tribal religion about ten years ago.”
One of the victims reportedly declared that the attackers “can destroy our homes, but not our faith in Jesus.”
In comments sent to Worthy News, a young girl testified that the villagers tried to force Christians to worship their gods and eat food offered in the temple. “As their gods seem to flee away by our presence in the village, they are opposing us.”
Christians said they had urged prayers for the families and that more villagers will turn to Christ. The case underscored reports of anti-Christian attacks throughout India, a mainly Hindu nation.
Christians said they have been praying that authorities in India will enforce religious freedom guaranteed in the country’s constitution.