(Worthy News) - A pastor in India and former carpenter who built his own house church nine years ago has seen his flock all but scattered after villagers, instigated by a local Brahmin with high political connections, dug a trench to prevent people from entering and harassed believers through the month of January.
On Jan. 27 Pastor Eswara Rao Appalabattula pleaded with his Hindu neighbors to allow believers to come to the church he had built and to cease digging a trench in front of it, and was rewarded with a severe beating that broke his hand.
“I was lying there on the floor screaming for help,” he told Morning Star News. “My wife came running and begged them to stop beating me – it was traumatic.”
On Jan. 5 a Hindu priest had led the pastor and his wife, Karuna Appalabattula, to his home, where he called her a prostitute and threatened to kill her husband if the worship activities persisted.
“Suresh Panchata has high political links and had been instigating the Hindu priest and villagers that the church activities disturb the Hindu rituals and traditions followed in the village,” the pastor said, pointing to a high-caste Hindu influencer as the source of the trouble.
Pastor Appalabattula said that ever since he began his ministry in 2011, drug addicts have come to Christ and ceased doing their obligatory Hindu rituals, and children from the surrounding villages have been drawn to come worship with the elderly couple, whom they see as parents.
“This did not go well with Panchata and his aides,” he said, noting that believers now are afraid even to meet at the house church, having endured verbal onslaughts from the villagers as they came to attend worship all through the month of January.
India was 31st on Open Doors USA's World Watch List in 2013 but rose to 10th after Narendra Modi and the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014.