India: Seven Christian families displaced for refusing to recant faith

Thursday, February 11, 2021

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - Seven Christian families in India’s Odisha state have now been driven from their village after they built a small house in which to gather for worship last October, International Christian Concern reports.

The seven families from Padmpur village had become Christians around two years ago, and there was no opposition to their faith at that time, ICC said. However, tensions between them and their neighbors began to simmer as the families built themselves a small worship center. After accusing the Christians of leaving their original faith, their neighbors went on to have them disqualified for local government benefits and other community resources.

On December 12, 2020, the Christians were summoned to a village meeting and told they must recant their faith. When the families refused to comply with their neighbors’ demands, they were beaten and given a month to give up their faith or be forced out of the village.

At a subsequent village meeting on January 25, 2021, the families were verbally abused and beaten. “Sambhra Pangi, Sanaa Pangi, Mutai Khila, and Deo Pangi were all seriously injured as a result of the January 25 assault,” ICC said. A local pastor filed a formal complaint about the January 25 attacks at the Malkangiri Police Station and six people were subsequently arrested.

The families are currently sheltering with Christian friends in a different village: they have been barred from their own village until they drop the charges against those who were arrested for attacking them last month, ICC said.