A Hindu father has reportedly beaten his wife and four children and evicted them from his house in in the State of Haryana, Northern India after they refused to renounce their Christian faith.
The British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) reported on Saturday that the family of Ramesh Kumar, a Hindu, had been cut off financially and is now struggling to make ends meet because they had refused to abandon Christianity.
Kumar reportedly demanded that they stop observing Christian practices in February and officially repudiated them on Sept. 25.
The eldest son, Neeraj, had tried to provide for the family using his small wage as a shop clerk. However, the father had allegedly contacted the shop owner and maligned his son's character, prompting the employer to dismiss Neeraj.
Kumar had also accused his family of forcing him to attend church and change his religion and claimed that his son threatened to kill him if he refuses to convert to Christianity.
The family had denied the allegations, but the authorities had tried to settle the feud by joining the father in his demands that the Christians renounce their faith.
The mother and the children, however, have contended that the incident has only served to strengthen their faith. "We will not stop going to the Church because we know Jesus is the True God who died for us," they said.
BPCA has expressed concerns that the family would be attacked by extremists, as Kumar had placed an advertisement last week in a local newspaper alleging that his family members assaulted him. The father also noted in the advertisement that he had already disowned his family and he is not responsible for what happens to them.
"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 [Narendra] Modi regime came into power," BPCA Chairman Wilson Chowdhry stated.
"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," Chowdhry continued.
The organization has started a donation drive to support the Christians and has listed the significant financial hardships they face for their commitment to their faith.
BPCA noted that Neeraj is actively seeking work as he now has the problem of having to pay for food, rent, three folding beds, warm bedding and the school fees for his younger siblings.
Neeraj's father has reportedly blamed the pastor for converting his family, and the police are now repeatedly calling the minister to the police station. The pastor's lawyer had advised him against going, fearing that they would arrest him on trumped up charges and incite other people against him.