Wednesday, January 5, 2011

South Asia pastor falsely charged with theft

Pastor Mandal was accused of
stealing a motorcycle, much like
this one.
A Gospel for Asia-supported pastor has been accused of stealing a motorcycle by a group of anti-Christian extremists in his village in South Asia, reports ASSIST News Service and Gospel for Asia.

Mandal Bhaskar is the pastor of a rapidly growing church of about 100 people. After a funeral service on December 15, members of the deceased’s family observed a local custom by washing his body in a nearby river. Extremists, who oppose Mandal’s ministry, used this opportunity to stage a false theft. One of them rode to the ceremony on a motorcycle but arranged for it to be taken during the event, making it look like a theft.

The next day, Mandal’s opponents tried to confront the pastor by standing in front of his house and yelling at him to come outside and answer their accusations that he had stolen the motorcycle. Mandal was not at home, but his brother heard the commotion from his home nearby. He stepped out to talk to the men and assured them his brother did not commit the crime.

The men attacked Mandal’s brother, who was badly injured before neighbours were able to break him free from the mob’s grip. The accusers then made their way to the police station and filed a theft report accusing Mandal of the crime. The police immediately summoned Mandal to the station. The police released Mandal after taking his statement. Local law enforcement officials have not yet made a ruling in the case.

Pastor Mandal says that the extremists making false charges against him represent the many other residents of the village who feel threatened by the rapid growth of the church. He believes the theft scenario may have been put together to prevent him from conducting a Christmas program in the village.

Please pray God will give Pastor Mandal and his family the grace and strength to face this situation. Pray the Lord will touch the hearts and lives of the villagers making the accusations. Pray for the believers in Pastor Mandal’s church to stand strong in the face of opposition.

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