A family that recently converted to Christianity was banished from their Indian village this year after they stood firm in their faith and refused to recant.
Jaga Padiami and his wife accepted Christ in December after hearing the gospel when a group of Christians visited their home village in Kambawada, India.
But in January, they were called to a village meeting and told by the village chief, Koya Samaj, to renounce their Christian faith. Both refused, according to a report by International Christian Concern.
Residents then began to harass the couple, and Samaj gave them an additional five days to recant their faith or face banishment from the village.
After five days, the couple was called to a village meeting, where Padiami told Samaj and the other villagers, “Even though you will drive me out of the village, I will not leave Jesus Christ.”
“This response enraged local villagers who ransacked Padiami’s home,” ICC reported.
Their belongings were tossed into the street, and their house locked. They were then forced from the village.
The couple was told they would be killed if they returned – unless they recant Christianity. They did not.
India ranked No. 10 on Open Doors’ 2021 report of “50 countries where it’s most difficult to follow Jesus.”
“Hindu extremists believe that all Indians should be Hindus, and that the country should be rid of Christianity and Islam,” the report said. “They use extensive violence to achieve this goal, particularly targeting Christians from a Hindu background. Christians are accused of following a ‘foreign faith’ and blamed for bad luck in their communities.”
Christians are “often physically attacked and sometimes killed,” as well as being “under constant pressure from their family and community to return to Hinduism,” the report said.
“If they do not ‘re-convert,’ they may be boycotted by their community, with a devastating effect on their ability to earn income,” the Open Doors report said. “Many believers are isolated and don’t know any other Christians.”
Photo courtesy: Fati Abdul/Pixabay
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.