Wave of persecution hits Christian couple’s home in Northern India
“I was broken when I received the phone call that let me know my husband was in jail,” Nuri Manji told International Christian Concern (ICC). Nuri’s husband, Pastor Raju Manji, is among the dozens of Christians in India’s Uttar Pradesh state that have been arrested on false accusations of forced conversion since late-June.
The arrest took place on the 7th of September as her husband led a prayer gathering in the Azamgarh district of Uttar Pradesh. A mob of radical Hindu nationalists attacked the gathering, brutally thrashing both her husband and the 25 Christians who gathered for prayers.
Following the assault, Nuri’s husband was arrested by police and accused of violating Uttar Pradesh’s anti-conversion law. Nuri’s husband, and another congregant, were later sent to Azamgarh district jail.
“I was hundreds of miles away in my hometown in West Bengal when I received the news that my husband was arrested,” Nuri told ICC. “Being physically far away, so much went through my mind, including whether I would ever see my husband again.”
“For the last 13 years, the Azamgarh district was very fruitful for our ministry,” Nuri continued. “We lead eight to 10 congregations in different villages and regular worship takes place in all of these villages. I have seen God working in the lives of people and people testify they have been healed through prayers.”
Nuri and her husband moved to Uttar Pradesh from West Bengal as church planters working with a ministry focused on disadvantaged communities. Since moving to Uttar Pradesh, they have seen their ministry flourish. However, that growth has also come with opposition and persecution.
Incidents like the one that led to Nuri’s husband’s arrest, unfortunately, have become common in Uttar Pradesh. Since late-June, a wave of persecution has swept across the state with radical Hindu nationalists attacking Christians and their places of worship with impunity.