India: Christian homes ransacked
In September 2020, a large mob ransacked the homes of Christian families belonging to the Scheduled Tribes, who are an ethnic and religious minority, in Kondagaon District, Chhattisgarh. The mob also destroyed farmland and property. A few days before the attacks the families had refused to make a donation towards a Hindu festival.
Additionally, targeted violence against Christians in Jharkhand State has become a growing concern. Also in September 2020, seven Christians belonging to the Khariya tribal group in Bheri Kudar village were attacked by a mob who partially shaved their heads and forced them to chant ‘Jai Sri Ram’ (translation: ‘Long live Shri Ram’, a Hindu deity).
Nigeria: Professor Tarfa released on bail
Professor Richard Solomon Musa Tarfa, the co-founder of orphanages for unwanted Christian children in Nigeria’s Kano and Kaduna states, was released on bail in December 2020 after nearly a year in pretrial detention.
He was arrested on Christmas Day 2019 at his home in the Du Merci Centre in the Christian district of the Kano State capital and charged with operating an orphanage illegally, which was later changed to criminal abduction of minors. Both charges are completely unfounded.
After repeated delays in hearings for a review of the original excessive bail stipulations, new bail terms were set in November 2020 and the professor was reunited with his family a few weeks later.
Sudan: Charges against church leaders dropped
Eight leaders of the Sudanese Church of Christ have had all charges against them dropped. The leaders were initially arrested in August 2017 for refusing to hand over control of the church to an unelected government-backed committee. Despite a dismissal of the case in August 2018 by the court of first instance, it was reopened in July 2019. Their three-year ordeal finally came to an end on 19 October 2020, when a criminal court in Omdurman acquitted the leaders of all charges.
Pakistan: Ahmadi Muslim shot dead
On World Teacher’s Day in October 2020, Professor Naeemuddin Khattak, an Ahmadi Muslim, was shot dead in Peshawar, northern Pakistan.
Professor Khattak was returning home after his lectures when he was killed by unidentified men on a motorcycle. He leaves behind his wife, two sons and three daughters. Initial information suggested that the murder was religiously motivated.