NEW DELHI, INDIA — Five young men studying at a Bible college run by mission group Gospel for Asia (GFA) in the Indian state of Maharashtra were reportedly recovering from "severe injuries" Tuesday, February 20, after they were beaten by an angry anti-Christian crowd.
The beatings happened late Sunday, February 18, while they evangelized on the streets of a local village, GFA said in a statement. Two of the students were listed in "critical condition."
The incident allegedly happened after the men, who were not identified apparently for security reasons, departed from their Bible college campus late Sunday for what GFA described as "their usual evening outreach." They "walked about three miles (4.8 kilometers) to a nearby village to give out Gospel tracts entitled ’How to Know God’ and witness to the people," GFA said.
Suddenly, the young men reportedly saw five "angry militants" running towards them. "We’re going to kill you!" the militants were quoted as shouting at the students. "As the extremists began beating the Christians, others joined until 40 anti-Christians were participating in the attack. The beatings continued until all five students were severely injured," GFA claimed.
The students were rushed to the hospital, but doctors initially refused to treat them saying police should first write a report about the attack, GFA reported. "Finally, after the report was written, the hospital admitted all five of the young men. Two of the men are in critical condition with serious head injuries and bleeding," GFA said.
GFA President K.P. Yohannan said the latest attack was part of a wider crackdown on devoted Christians in India. "Unfortunately, attacks like these are becoming an almost daily occurrence." He said his group had urged supporters to "pray that these young Bible college students will heal quickly and will be encouraged," to continue their activities. He also said GFA still hopes that those who beat the students will become Christians.
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