Threatened pastor fears attack by Hindu extremists
Pastor Vijay Rawat has been threatened on numerous occasions by extremists. On the last occasion he was in the village of Kulha, Udham Singh Nagar district of Uttrakhand, at a prayer fellowship on 13 September 2016.
Rawat spotted two men who claimed to be from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu right-wing organisation, video recording the fellowship with their cell phones. When confronted, the men threatened Rawat and the others present with dire consequences if they did not ‘stop carrying-out religious conversions’.
Rawat who is associated with Rashtriya Susamachar Parishad Ministry has taken a rented place for conducting Sunday worship service in Dineshpur. He has been actively doing ministry in that area since 1992.
Speaking to Global Christian News he expressed his fears of an attack by Hindu extremists. He revealed that this is the fifth threat in the past two months.
· The first came on July 24, 2016 – While Rawat was conducting the regular Sunday service, three men from the RSS came and warned him to stop Sunday meetings in the area and to stop evangelising.
· July 31, 2016 – While Rawat was in Church conducting Sunday service, RSS members came to his house and tried to exert pressure on his landlord to expel Rawat from his rented house. However, the landlord vouched for Rawat and said that he has known the pastor for many years and that he bears a good moral character.
· August 1, 2016 – At the crossroad of the town, RSS members protested against the Congress government by burning an effigy of Pastor Vijay Rawat and claiming that he was carrying out ‘conversions’.
· August 2, 2016 – Rawat was summoned to the Dineshpur police station by the Station House Officer who intimidated Rawat and warned him to abstain from all kinds of evangelistic work otherwise strict action would be taken against him and that he would be charged with infringing sections of Indian Penal Code. Later the pastor was asked to call two Christian witnesses from his congregation who would vouch for him. When two congregation members arrived Rawat was made to sign in the police register before being released.