Christians in India are suffering throughout the pandemic. India's 1.3 billion citizens have a couple of hours to prepare for the lockdown that has become one of the largest and strictest in the world. Compared to churches in urban areas, the rural and suburban areas which are often larger churches in number are losing resources and connectivity. However, the urban churches are able to worship through live streaming amidst the pandemic.
According to Open Door, Christians in rural areas face more opposition than ever from their communities because of their faith. Reports have surfaced of our brothers and sisters being falsely accused, threatened, and attacked.
"The pandemic has not stopped the growing persecution against the Christians,"
"There are many Christians in India who are able to use online streaming of worship, sermons, and prayers, but the majority of the Christians in the rural areas are facing threats and persecution amid the lockdown."
"We are receiving news of persecution incidents from many areas, even in this situation where people have been ordered to stay inside their homes. In fact, we believe that during this phase of lockdown, Christians are suffering even more than before, since most of them have to now combat economic problems as well as the opposition and hatred from the community."
Christians in India tend to have less access to healthcare, medicines, and community services. There are many incidents where Christians are getting persecuted from worshiping God and they are in need of urgent help.
"In one incident, a Christian brother named Shyam and his family face constant opposition from his village. The villagers hurl hatred and abusive taunts since Shyam and his family have refused to take the Ayurveda medicine-a type of alternative Hindu medicine-made by the villagers and a shaman in the area. The rumor is the medicine will keep the people safe from coronavirus and is being used by everyone else in the village. Anyone who won't take the medicine is assumed to be infected with COVID-19. Since Shyam and his family haven't taken the homeopathic remedy, they've been accused of secretly having coronavirus."
"A lady named Kavita shares she faces severe abuse from her husband when she tries to read the Bible or pray in the house; she used to spend time secretly praying in the fields where she worked. With the lockdown in effect, it has become challenging for her to spend time in prayer. India needs more prayers than ever during this time."
In the meantime, Open Doors ask Christians all around the world to join them in a prayer for our brothers and sisters in India. The prayer is that:
-God will protect His people
-God will ease the sickness and death from coronavirus in India and around the world
-Christians will be able to be salt and light, even in a very hard time and in places where they are persecuted
-Believers will have opportunities to pray and read the Bible without being harassed or abused
-God will provide for His people who are starving and in need of financial help