By Mark Ellis —
A Hindu man kicked his wife and four children out of the house after they refused to renounce their Christian faith.
The patriarch, Ramesh Kumar, felt scandalized by the fact that they are following Jesus. Now his wife and children struggle to survive as winter approaches, according to a report by the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA).
In many states in India, anti-conversions laws are in place. Anyone turning from Hinduism to Christianity faces severe consequences and even violence.
In February, Mr. Kumar decided he could no longer tolerate his family’s involvement at a local church, and demanded they stop attending. When they refused, he began beating his wife and children. He also cut them off financially and officially renounced them on September 25th.
The oldest son, Neeraj, 23, has been using his modest income as a shop clerk to provide for his mother and three siblings who are students. They also are receiving help from an uncle, according to BPCA.
Mr. Kumar also went to his son’s employer on October 30th, maligned his son’s character, and pressured the owner to fire his son.
Two weeks later he told his family, “If you don’t stop going to church, I will drive you out of the house and file an [apostasy] case against you all since you have changed your religion.”
Mr. Kumar followed up by submitting a complaint to the police in which he claimed his family forced him to go to church and said they “want me to change my religion.” He claimed his “family members tied my legs and hands and took me to the church.” He told police, “My son said if you will not go to church with us then we can kill you.”
In response, the family was called into the police station for questioning and asked, “Why you have changed your religion and beat your father?” The police refused to believe statements they made in their own defense and began to pressure the family to stop attending church.
Mr. Kumar’s extended family have joined in the persecution, pressuring the five to give up their faith.
But the children and their mother are resolute in following Jesus. “We will not stop going to the church because we know Jesus is the True God who died for us.”
“These events have only served to strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ and have made them more determined to follow Him despite the suffering and deprivation they now face,” according to BPCA.
On November 17, 2017 Mr. Kumar placed an ad in a local newspaper making allegations of physical abuse, disowning his family and disavowing any responsibility for what might happen to them.
This ad followed his earlier report on September 25th where Mr Kumar went to the court and made an official statement claiming the following: “My wife Sunita and my elder son Neeraj, Pardeep, Sapna and Gaytari are out of my control and they beat me , so now they does not have any part with me and my belonging.”
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Asian Christian Association, said: “The disownment of his children by a patriarch has left this family very vulnerable. They have been targeted by a father who is caught up in the religious zeal that has become more commonplace in India since the Modi regime came into power.
“Proliferation of anti-minority propaganda, and a biased national curriculum that continues to demonize other faiths, has had the effect of polarizing communities. Moreover a growing number of incidents of minority persecution is a poor indictment of Indian society which lacks harmony and tolerance in many regions.
“The Indian Government must retract the anti-conversion bill or the future for Christians and other minorities in their nation will remain bleak, as the law will serve as a weapon for extremists.”
The family have asked for help with their financial situation as they find themselves in severe difficulties.