Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Pastor and Associate attacked in Karnataka

May 1st 2005: Dozens of Hindutva fundamentalists attacked the Assembly of God congregation at Shrirangapattana Taluka near Mysore. The pastor of the congregation and his associate, were injured in this attack.

The attack happened right after the Sunday worship service at the AG Church. At the time of the attack there were at least 60 people in the Church. Since there is no building for the Church the congregation meets at a rented house. Suddenly dozens of people, identified by the pastor as activists of the VHP and the Bajrang Dal, attacked the congregation.

The fundamentalists, led by a BJP general secretary, first targeted the associate pastor Mr. Kumar and then the pastor of the congregation, Mr. Samuel. The attackers dragged them both outside the hall, where the Church was meeting and beat them for more than an hour. The congregation too was threatened by the members of the VHP and Bajrang Dal.

After the fundamentalists had finished beating the two men, they dragged them to the local police station and falsely accused them of converting people. The police instead of protecting them, registered a complaint against them, while no complain was registered against the attackers.

The police also reportedly demanded that the pastor’s would no longer hold any Christian meetings in that house in Shrirangapattana. It is alleged by the pastors that only after the police took a written promise from them, to not hold any meetings in the area in the future, did the police squash the complaint.

More than 15 days later the Pastor and the associate Pastor still suffer from internal injuries. It is not known whether services will be continued in the area any more.

This is not the first time that such an incident has happened with the Pastor and his associate. They were also attacked in April last year, beaten inside their church and were taken to the same police station where they claimed they were kept "for one whole night."

This is the second reported incident in this month in the state. Just a few days later a YWAM team was attacked by fundamentalists in the Dharwad district.