Recently there was a campaign on social media that a family had been expelled from Devalampallepalem village of Singarayakonda Mandal, Prakasam District, Andhra Pradesh, for accepting Christianity and building a church on their plot of land.
After the video clip with a Telugu TV channel logo became viral, some pastors and self-proclaimed Christian leaders initiated large-scale agitation. When Nijam Today investigated the matter, it came to light that the viral video clip of the ex-communication of a family was actually from the year 2018. Some people made it viral on social media by grabbing a five-year-old video clip portraying it as a recent incident.
Nijam Today even investigated the veracity of the incident to know whether that family was excommunicated by the villagers for believing in Jesus Christ. In this regard, Nijam Today has obtained recent video statements by the Devalopallepalem villagers condemning the allegations against the entire village on Social Media. The village is made up predominantly of persons from the fishermen’s community. So what is the truth? Has there been a social boycott of a Christian-converted family in the said village?
As per the statements of the villagers, it has come to light that some people who converted to Christianity occupied the land belonging to the Ram temple in the village in 2017 and built a church illegally. After two years, the members of that Church were split into two, and one of the members, named Mr Nagaraju, established a new church, brought a pastor named Yona from another area, and started running his new Church. This is where the problem started.
According to the villagers, the Pastor named Yona used to trouble the villagers through the indiscriminate use of loudspeakers around the clock. He used to conduct all-night prayers with shrieks and screams starting from midnight. The villagers used to wake up in shock from sleep after being disturbed by these all-night prayers. The sick, the elderly and, in particular, students preparing for various examinations were worst affected. All pleas of villagers to stop all-night prayers or do night prayers without loudspeakers fell on deaf ears.
Villagers also said that Pastor Yona started misbehaving with the village women. He said that only young women should come for special gatherings for all-night gatherings. In addition, Pastor Yona used to claim that Jesus Christ would enter his body and speak through him. This attracted many women who fell for his false claims. The women who came under his trance started neglecting their families and routine domestic work and started to spend more and more time inside the church, in the company of Pastor Yona.
As the activities and all-night prayers of Pastor Yona led to marital discord and family disputes, Nagaraju, who established a new church and invited Pastor Yona from outside, was called and asked not to bring Pastor Yona to the village but to have someone else pray with the Pastor. Nagaraju rejected the proposal outright, leading to quarrels and disputes in the village. As a result, Nagaraju left the village and complained to the local police station that the villagers had expelled him for converting to Christianity.
Five years have passed since this incident happened. The police enquired into Nagaraju’s allegations and concluded his complaint had no truth. They tried to bring a truce between both sides, but Nagaraju insisted that a case be registered. Ever since Nagaraju filed a false complaint against the villagers, the revenue and police officials have arranged several meetings in the village and assured Nagaraju that he is free to live in the village and practice the religion of his choice.
The only condition of the villagers was that Pastor Yona should not come to the village to conduct prayers in the church. But Nagaraju used to repeatedly raise the false accusation that he would be beaten up if he goes to the village. The villagers called Nagaraju several times to return to the village and resume his everyday life, but he declined their offer. It is worth noting that Nagaraju’s family members were present in the village during the recent Sankranti celebrations held in January 2023.
The villagers cautioned that they would move criminal proceedings against the self-proclaimed Christian leaders and pastors if they continue to sully the name of their village by making false accusations of ex-communication of Christians from the village.
(This article first appeared on nijamtoday.com on March 13, 2023 and is being republished as part of a content-sharing agreement via smart4bharat.com. Minor edits have been done to conform to HinduPost style-guide.)