March 1st 2009, 11:10 AM #1
A living martyr of Kandhamal, I recently lived with.
Pabitra Mohan Kota, 39, of Kandhamal district of Orissa, India, was 10 years active member of R.S.S. –a Hindu militant group. He was educated and brainwashed in their school. But being unsure of his salvation, he was in great unrest. He prayed for guidance to whatever conception of God he had.
Then a Christian pastor had a vision telling to contact him. His preaching converted him in 1999. He then took a brief 1 year course in theology. He began preaching among his previous comrades and converted one.
Now the Hindu leaders tried to reconvert him by beatings. He was seriously beaten three times. Once bruised and unconscious he was rescued by police when called by the mobile of a friend. But there a complaint was lodged against him by the leaders and biased police kept him in arrest without giving any medical attention. The accusation was that he forcibly converted poor people and abused Hindu gods. It was an unbailable offence there. But his friends got bail for him from high court after much delay. In jail also he converted people.
When out of jail, leaders resolved to murder him. They surrounded his village home and after looting all his crops, cattle and valuables they set fire to the house. But he had inklings before. So he had hid in the forest with family without food. As they angrily searched for him in the forest he hid in the ravines and family was separated. After five days there he found his family again and miraculously crossed a swollen river to reach a distant camp in the district town of Fulbani.
Now Govt. has closed the camps. But going to village means certain death or re-conversion; he has taken a shanty on hire in the town. Here it is a little safer. But the RSS friend he converted was beaten and left for dead by RSS. His friends carried him to a Christian hospital. There he is; deaf and cripple. Another of his converted friends had to recant his faith to live in the village and work.
Pabitra is also partially deaf and cripple due to repeated beatings. His previous occupation as a shepherd and farmer is out of bound. He is now living on hand to mouth on helps from friends, themselves poor and threatened. I had lived in his shanty a few days ago. His wife has delivered a child just now. So he has to find a new trade to feed his four children and wife. Previously Church of God’s pastor gave him 10 dollars stipend per month as evangelist but the pastors are absconding since the riots. The protestant Christians there complain that now they are a flock without Shepard. But I feel that Christ is with them.
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