Thursday, June 30, 2016

Police in India Threaten to Fine Christians Attacked by Hindu Extremists

A month after a crowd of village Hindus in Jharkhand state, India summoned 25 Christians, tied up six of them and beat them with sticks, some of the assailants ran into one of the Christians and asked if he was still worshipping Christ.
The Hindu extremists in Hunter village, Palamu District came across Gunni Bhuiya on June 14 on an area road. Bhuiya told them he still believed in and worshipped Christ, and the Hindu extremists manhandled him and threatened to kill him, Christian leaders said.
“They told Bhuiya that as the Christians are still worshipping Christ even after they had received severe beatings, they were now going to kill them,” area pastor Sanjay Kumar Ravi told Morning Star News.
Area Christians are living in fear as the Hindu extremist forbid them to worship, boycott them economically and threaten to kill them, while police threatened to fine them if they continued worshipping publicly, the leaders said.
Hindu extremists led by Dilip Chandra, Ram Chandra Vanshi and Dil Narayan Yadav on May 8 summoned the 25 Christians from six families to a public meeting, forcing them into vehicles and taking them to a middle school on the outskirts of the village.
“About 100 people from three neighboring villages were waiting when we reached the place and started to tell us that it is wrong for us to pray to Jesus and that we should follow Hinduism and perform puja (Hindu rituals) to the idols only,” Pastor Ravi said.
The Christians refused. Rather, Pastor Ravi began sharing his testimony with the crowd, saying Christ had healed him from an illness in 2007, and that he has followed Him since then.
“The pastor’s testimony enraged the crowd more,” the Rev. Akash Nandi, an area Christian leader, told Morning Star News, “and they started to beat him and the other five Christian men while they shouted that they should renounce Christ or else they will kill them. They told them to chant, ‘Jai Shri Ram [Hail Lord Ram],’ perform the puja and worship the idols there and then.”
When the Christians refused, the furious Hindu extremists threatened to kill and bury them.
“They shouted to each other to bring kerosene oil so that they could burn us all,” Pastor Ravi said.
Nandi said the Christians told them, “Do whatever you like, we are not going to leave Christ at any cost.”
The extremists then tied the hands and the legs of six Christian men and punched, kicked, slapped and beat them up with sticks, the leaders said. The assailants then hung them upside down, took them down and beat them again.
As the abuse went for about half an hour, a 5-year-old child, Eraj Ram, begged the assailants to stop beating his father, Naresh Ram.
“He folded his hands and begged them to stop beating his father, however, the extremists caught him by the collar and threw him aside,” Pastor Ravi said.
Shouting that they should not worship Christ anymore, the extremists then pushed the Christian men to the ground and stomped on them, the Christian leaders said.
All six men were bleeding from their mouths, Naresh Ram’s hands were broken and Pastor Ravi sustained an internal injury that left him with severe chest pain, along with cuts on his hands and abrasions over much of his body. Four other unidentified Christians suffered cuts and wounds on their mouths, eyes, hands and legs.
“The extremists threatened to tie up the women as well while they mocked and hurled all sorts of vulgar abuse at them,” Pastor Ravi said.
The assailants told the Christians to leave the village or else they would shave them, burn them and set their houses on fire, he said. The Christians managed to return to their homes and left the village at dawn the next day. At Ramgarh village, they received medical treatment from a local doctor.
Later that morning, the Christians went to Ramgarh police station to report the attack to police, but officers declined to register a case, and on May 10 they summoned the assailants to the police station. About 50 of the Hindus showed up to meet with three area Christian leaders among the 25 Christians who arrived at the station. Police forced the Christians to sign a statement that they would worship only in their homes or else be fined 10,000 rupees (US$150), along with other possible punishments.
“We were forced to sign the bond, we have no other choice as we have nowhere else to stay except in the village,” Pastor Ravi said.
The Christians, impoverished “untouchable” Dalits, lost some benefits when the village head came under pressure from the Hindu extremists to exclude them. The Hindu extremists also ensured that the Christians were denied rice, wheat, sugar and other goods at subsidized rates.
“Our names were also cut off from the list where houses were allotted to the villagers by the state authorities,” Pastor Ravi said.
Likewise, on June 10 the Hindu extremists threatened Dharaya Singh and his wife Sumitra Singh, saying they would keep them from plowing their land and drive them from the village if they continued to worship Christ.
“We can only pray in our homes with our respective family, our movements are closely watched and the extremists told us to leave Christ and threatened to beat us up at every opportunity they could find,” Pastor Ravi said.

Click here for source 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Rising persecution in Punjab, India, alarms Christian community

On Wednesday 25 May, in the city of Jalandhar in India’s Punjab state, a Christian was severely beaten by eight Hindu extremists after he protested against Hindu desecration of a Christian graveyard. Even though a complaint was registered with the police on the day of incident, a First Information Report (FIR) was not registered until Monday 13 June.

Anoop Masih cannot afford the surgery and is fearful of malpractice because of the influence of local Hindu extremists over doctors in the area
Masih continues, “They hit me all over my body with many blows using their fists and legs, and then started to hit me in my private parts. One of them was wearing boots and his boot repeatedly hit one of my testicles so hard that I collapsed with the intensity of pain and I almost thought I’ll soon be dead.”Arif Chouhan (centre) said, ““In my 16 years of ministry as a Christian leader, I have not faced such opposition before”

Anoop Masih, aged 47, is a resident of Jalandhar and works as an auto-rickshaw driver. In his recollection of events to Barnabas Fund, Masih said that on the evening of 25 May a man “who seemed to me a learned gentleman” was booked for a ride. “I was asked to stop for a moment in front of a shop in Santokhpura area, where seven men were waiting to ambush me. They suddenly pulled me down from my auto-rickshaw and started to assault me, saying that they are going to put me in a grave today.”

The attackers fled, leaving Masih lying on the street. All of the shopkeepers in the area quickly closed their shops and left. A passer-by who recognised Masih informed his family who came to his aid.

Vishnu Dev, pastor of a church in the nearby city of Ludhiana, said, “The Hindu extremists intended to spread fear and teach Masih a lesson for speaking for the Christian community.”

The incident had begun earlier in the day when Masih went home for lunch. His mother informed him that a group of Hindu extremists were throwing waste soil and garbage on a graveyard designated for Christians. Masih went to the graveyard and spoke to the groups. “I told them not to demean the Christian land and reminded them that the sentiments of the Christians are with their dead buried here,” said Masih.

This particular graveyard is common land given to the Hindu and the Christian communities to cremate bury their dead respectively. According to land records, this was designated even before India’s independence in 1947. Government officials subsequently divided the area a few years back and assigned separate portions to the two communities.

“Some Hindu troublemakers are trying to grab the whole graveyard land for the Hindu community. Amendments are being carried out to the Christian portion of the land without our consent. The idea is to take complete control over the Christian portion gradually,” said Masih in frustration. “We will deal with this issue through the court now.”

Doctors have recommended surgery for Masih, but being poor he cannot afford this. He is also fearful of malpractice during the surgery because of the influence of local Hindu extremists over the doctors in the area.
“The situation for Christians in Punjab is getting difficult. This also coincides with the rise of the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) in the state. Now that elections are just around the corner, the political elements are using these incidents to polarise the state and divert the attention of the people from the real issues like corruption and drug addiction that plague the state,” said Rev. Vijayesh Lal, Executive Director of the Evangelical Fellowship of India.

“We appeal to the Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr. Prakash Singh Badal, to direct his officials to look into this matter in particular and also on the issue of increased targeting of Christians in the state and take appropriate measures to ensure that the rule of law prevails,” he added. 

“Small incidents of violence against Christians used to happen sporadically in Punjab…now since the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government come to power [in 26 May 2014], every now and then there are major incidents reported,” said Pastor Vishnu Dev.

Grandmother and granddaughter thrown out of their home

In another incident, which took place in Pakhowal village, in the district of Ludhiana, a seven-year-old girl and her grandmother were thrown out of their home by the girl’s Hindu father because of their decision to convert from Hinduism to Christianity. The father of the girl has also filed a police complaint against Dharminder Bajwa, the pastor of the church which the girl and her grandmother attend.

The grandmother became a Christian five years ago. Her family opposed the decision and tried to convince her to return to Hinduism. The trouble heightened when the young girl – who had been watching her grandmother’s life closely – decided herself to follow Jesus. This was met with strong opposition, and after the young girl stood firm in her new faith both she and her grandmother were asked to leave home.

Pastor Vishnu Dev told Barnabas Fund that the grandmother is now working to support both herself and her granddaughter. “[She] has started to work in a small school where she serves water to the staff and sweeps the school,” he said. 

Attacked with sickle for holding Christian rally

Elsewhere in Punjab state, in the city of Gurdaspur, Arif Chouhan, aged 29, had organised a Masih Chetna Rally (Christian Awareness Rally) on Tuesday 31 May. Four days before the rally, on 27 May, Chouhan was chased by four masked men in a car whilst travelling home on his motorbike. The men stopped Chouhan and brutally assaulted him.

“Each of them was carrying a sickle in their hand and they hit me holding it upside down in a way that I would get internal injuries and not bleed,” said Chouhan to Barnabas Fund. The attackers told Chouhan that they wanted to stop him from running the Christian rally. They hit Chouhan until he fell unconscious. He was left on the road for an hour, after which time he regained consciousness.

Chouhan added that the attack was well-planned, saying, “While assaulting me the attackers said that they had been following me for ten days and finally found me in a secluded place.”

Chouhan sustained internal injuries and fractures to his elbow and ankle.

The incident was registered with the police on 28 May. “I was unable to move for two weeks and the police have now given me two security personnel for my safety,” Chouhan said. He went on to say, “In my 16 years of ministry as a Christian leader, I have not faced such opposition before.”

Click here for source

Thursday, June 16, 2016

AIPF Fact-Finding Team Visit To Bastar finds violence against Christian minorities and other startling facts

Several Cases of Fake Encounters, Rapes, Arbitrary Arrests, Fake Surrenders Exposed

Raipur, 12 June 2016

An 8-member fact-finding team of All India People’s Forum visited four districts of Bastar, Chhattisgarh between 8-11 June 2016. The fact-finding team found several incidents of communal violence against Christians; as well as fake encounters; rapes; fake cases and arbitrary arrests; and fake surrenders.
The AIPF team comprised former Madhya Pradesh MLA Dr Sunilam of Samajwadi Samagam, former Jharkhand MLA and CPIML Central Committee member Vinod Singh, Kavita Krishnan, Secretary of All India Progressive Women’s Association, Brijendra Tiwari of AICCTU, Amlan Bhatacharya, State Secretary of PUCL West Bengal, Advocate Aradhana Bhargava of Chhindwara, Advocate Ajoy Dutta of Kolkata and Amlendu Choudhury. Bela Bhatia and Soni Sori also accompanied the team.       

Communal Violence Against Christian Minorities

1.       At several villages in Bastar district – including Karmari, Bade Thegli, Sirisguda and Belar – resolutions adopted under Section 129 (g) of Chhattisgarh Gram Panchayat Act have been wrongly invoked in violation of the spirit of the law to restrict non-Hindus from residing or building places of worship, even though the High Court has quashed such gram sabha resolutions in Karmari and Sirisguda. 
2.       In Bhadhisgaon (Tokapal Panchayat) in Bastar district, Pastor Pilaram Kawde was given a written notice by the Gram Panchayat denying permission to him to construct a place of worship on his own land. The written notice cited Sections 55 (1) and (2) Chhattisgarh Gram Panchayat Act 1993 and said that Pastor Pileman cannot construct a place of worship because “People of big-big castes and religions live in this village, and every Dussehra even the Roopshila Devi Ma joins the celebrations.”
3.       Christians are being prevented from using burial grounds in several villages. In Bhadisgaon, an elderly Christian lady Saradi Bai died on 25.5.2016, but Hindu villagers provoked by the Bajrang Dal stopped Christians from burying her. Eventually, after negotiations conducted by the police, she was buried in a casket but without the cross – but the Hindu villagers warned that no future Christian burial would be allowed. Accordingly, the 200 Christians of the village gave applications to the SDM, Tehsildar, police and Sarpanch asking that burial grounds be allotted separately for Christians, since they were being prevented from using the common burial grounds.
4.       Saradi Bai’s husband Sukhdev Netam passed away on 6.6.2016, and Hindu villagers prevented Christians from carrying out his last rites and burying him, threatening to kill them if they tried to bury him. Eventually after police arrived, he was buried but again, the villagers and Sarpanch warned that in future, they will call Bajrang Dal if there is any attempt by Christians in the village to use the burial grounds.
5.       At Ara village, Bario Chowki, Jeypore thana, District Ambikapur, on last Sunday, 5 June 2016, a Bajrang Dal mob of 25 people led by Chhotu Jaiswal, Sonu Gupta, Bipin Gupta, Chhotu Gupta and others attacked the church during Sunday prayers; vandalized the church; and beat up the pastor, his wife and three others. They made a video of the thrashing and made it ‘viral’ – we have a copy of this video. They dragged off the Pastor, his wife and three others to the Bario Chowki where they were kept till night. No FIR was registered against the assailtants – instead a case under Section 295 A has been registered against the Pastor who is yet to get bail.
6.       In village Sirisguda, rations were denied to Christian believers, and Food Department authorities were beaten up along with Christians; the ambulance was not allowed to enter the village; injured Christians were not allowed to get proper treatment in the district hospital. After great efforts a case was registered but the statements of the injured are yet to be taken in Court. VHP, Bajrang Dal people prevent Christians from filling water in the village. At a meeting called by the DM, the VHP and Bajrang Dal said that Christians must do ghar wapsi, or else we will evict them from the village invoking Section 129 (g) of the Panchayat Act.

Repression and Intimidation of Villagers Resisting Violations of Forest Rights for Raoghat Mines 

1.       Ramkumar Darro of village Kohche, thana Antahgarh in Kanker district said that 25 hectares of land have been acquired for Raoghat Mines without informing the villagers, gram panchayat, or gram sabha. (Officially the Raoghat Mines, as well as adjoining dam and railway lines are for Bhilai Steel Plant but a consortium of private companies will be involved with the mining project). Trees have been cut, adivasis’ forest land that they have had for the last 50 years is being grabbed; several places of worship of adivasis are being destroyed and even the burial grounds have been taken over by the company. CRPF camps have come up densely at every kilometer in the area. Ramkumar Darro had spoken to an earlier fact-finding team in May, after which he was threatened by a SDOP that he would be jailed as a Maoist.  
2.       Dukra Singh’s daughter was raped by an SPO and even had a baby by him. No case of rape could be registered, the SPO promised to pay Rs 50000 as compensation but has only paid Rs 25000.

Fake Encounters

1.       Nagalguda, thana Gadiras, Kuakonda Tehsil, District Dantewada: Four women – Rame, Pandi, Sunno and Mase - were killed here in a fake encounter at 7 am on 21.11.2015, and Badru, one former Maoist who surrendered and became a ‘Pradhan Arakshak’ and had accompanied the force, raped Mase before killing her. 22 DRG jawans were decorated and promoted for this ‘encounter,’ in spite of the fact that rewarding jawans for encounters is against NHRC guidelines and Supreme Court guidelines for encounters.
2.       Arlampalli, Dornapal Tehsil, district Sukma: Here, villagers told the team that on 3 November 2015, three village boys – Dudhi Bhima ( age 23), Sodhi Muya (age 21) and Vetti Lacchu (age 19) were killed by the police. The three boys left the village in the morning o 3 November on two cycles to get a drink of the local alcoholic drink (made out of date palm fruits). After getting their drink, they were going to the Polampalli Bazaar, where Bhima’s mother was waiting for them. Near the ‘nala’ close to the village, one youth Vetti Lacchu got down from the cycle while the other two went ahead. Security forces were in the area for a combing operation, and caught the two boys on cycles and began beating them up. The third youth, Vetti Lacchu, seeing this, began to run away – and was shot dead by the police. The other two youth were asked to carry the body of their friend to the Polampalli thana but on the way, they too were shot dead. No FIR has been registered as yet.
3.       Palamagdu, Dornapal Tehsil, district Sukma: Police claimed that two women Maoists were killed after an hour-long gun battle on 31 January 2016. In a local newspaper, the police is quoted as saying that the two women Naxalites were wearing saris and could not run and therefore fell into a ditch and were killed. The team found that in fact, the police had killed two small girls in cold blood. The mother of Siriyam Pojje (age 14) said that her daughter along with Manjam Shanti (age 13) had gone to feed the hens and was going to have a bath in the river and return home. On the way the police shot dead both the girls. Manjam Shanti’s father also said that both girls lived in the village and had no connection with Maoists.
4.       Kadenar village, Bijapur district: The police claimed that on 21.5.2016, an encounter took place with 30-35 armed Maoists, in which a husband and wife – Manoj Hapka and his wife Pandi Hapka/Pandi Tanti were killed. On reaching Kadenar village Pandi Hapka’s mother and brother told the team that at 8 pm at night on 21 May, police came to the house where the family was eating dinner. They took Manoj and Pandi away, along with their clothes, other belongings and Rs 13000 that they had earned by harvesting chillies in Andhra Pradesh. We were told that Manoj and Pandi had been with Maoists for a year, but five years ago, the couple left the Maoists and came back to the village where they did farming. Pandi has had TB for the past five years and has been very ill.

Fake Cases and Arbitrary Arrests                         

In Padiya village, Gadiras Thana, Sukma district, on 21 May 2016, at 9 am, a force of 200-300 police came and picked up villagers working on a water body, saying they were involved in the breaking of a Essar pipeline on 19 May 2016. Police took away 11 adivasis, left two of them later, and 8 remain in jail. The night before our team reached the village, the police forced sarpanch Madkam Hadma to wear police uniform and move with the force, arresting four people. Thus the police conspired to make the sarpanch look like a police agent, making him vulnerable to attacks by Maoists.
In the same village, a small 12-year-old boy Joga had been picked up by police on 12 May. The fact finding team met Joga and learned that Joga’s father and brothers had been arrested and detained illegally in the thana for seven days, where they were made to clean utensils and do other cleaning work in the thana. They were later released. The night before our team arrived in the village, Joga’s father had been taken into police custody with three others. The SHO of Gadiras thana said that repeated arrests are done because Joga’s sister is a Maoist ‘Mahila Commander’, whereas more than 150 villagers told the team that this is not true and the girl lives in the village. The team is apprehensive for the safety of Joga’s sister – she may be killed in a fake encounter claiming she is a Maoist. The sarpanch also is in danger of being killed.                

Rape of minor girl by CRPF Jawan

On 8 June 2016, a girl aged 14 years from Podum village, thana Dantewada was shutting her kirana shop when a CRPF jawan came and raped her throughout the night in the shop. She told her brother in law, who complained in the thana and was sent for medical examination last night (11 June 2016) – a process facilitated by the team and by Soni Sori. The CRPF jawan had given a name – RR Netam – and number in writing to the girl but this appears to be false since the TI says that no jawan of this name is there in the Jarum CRPF camp near Podum village.          

Fake Surrenders   

There have been 50 surrenders in the Chintalnar area. The team visited Chintalnar village where we were told of several staged surrenders. One small trader told us that he was called to the Polampalli thana by an SPO saying there is a warrant against him. He went there where he and 25 others were told that either they must agree to ‘surrender’ or they will be booked in a case of killing Nagesh, an SPO who was killed 2 years ago. He is 55 years old and he said that the other 25 cases were also not genuine surrenders. They all were given Ra 10000 each on the spot. Several others also testified to fake surrenders but are afraid of reprisals from the Maoists. We were told that the sarpanch, Kosa, is also under threat from Maoists for having facilitated the fake surrenders.

Conditions in the Village

Two AIPF teams covered 1650 kilometres in their journey, where they encountered more than 60 police and CRPF camps. But in the 25 villages that the teams visited, the villagers were insecure and suspicious of each other. In these 4 districts, political groups and other organizations are rather inactive, suggesting that the scope for democracy has shrunk there. Most of the villages visited by the teams were without electricity, without roads, and lacking in education and health facilities. In Ketulnar, two baby girls died after drinking milk provided by the anganwadi. We found that the village had 8 mitanin who did not even have medicines to treat diarrhea and vomiting and the hospital is 10 kilometres away because of which the little girls could not be treated. Now after the death of the girls, medicines have been provided but a case of culpable homicide is yet to be registered against the milk provider.


Dr Sunilam

Kavita Krishnan

Brijendra Tiwari
on behalf of AIPF

Sunday, June 12, 2016

More attacks on Indian Christians at Sunday worship

Christian worship services and prayer meetings across India are often targeted by Hindu radicals. Last Sunday in Bihar and the Sunday before in Uttar Pradesh, worship services were disrupted by armed men who assaulted the pastors and, in Bihar, the entire congregation including women and children.

Uttar Pradesh: Pastor and wife severely assaulted during Sunday worship but warned not to get medical attention or complain to police

Pastor Lalta Prasad, 58, and his wife were assaulted by four masked men with wooden sticks during their church’s worship service on Sunday 29 May. The church is located in the village of Naupur, Jaunpur district, in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

Pastor Prasad (left) with his wife and a member of his church who was also injured in the attack

Around 50-55 Christians were present at the church when the attack took place. Amongst those present were women, children and the elderly, all of whom escaped. The men in the church remained and attempted to rescue Pastor Lalta Prasad and his wife, but they too were attacked.

The attack lasted for 15-20 minutes, before the assailants fled on their motor bikes.

Both Prasad and his wife were taken to the police station and then to the district hospital for treatment.

Dinanath Jaiswar, a church leader from the city of Varanasi who visited the couple on Tuesday (7 June), said to Barnabas Fund, “The doctor on duty warned the couple of the consequences of getting a medical examination done and on filing a case against the assaulters on the basis of the medical test. The couple got extremely frightened and agreed not to get into further trouble and decided not to proceed with the medical examination and thus the police complaint was not filed”.

Jaiswar added, “The political pressure on the police and the medical staff is evident in this case”.

Prasad sustained internal injuries to his head, back, face, legs and muscle tissues, while his wife is unable to stand due to the many blows she received to her back. “They have been very tactfully attacked with no blood and no fractures, so that their injuries would not seem severe to the police”, said Jaiswar.

Prasad, his family and members of the church remain in shock after the attack. According to Jaiswar, “there has been no church service [since the attack] and it seems that the assaulters have been successful in their motives”.

In March this year, Prasad received threats from a group of Hindu extremists and a complaint against him was lodged with the District Magistrate (DM), falsely alleging that he was enticing Hindus into Christianity with the promise of money or employment. The DM ordered an enquiry and instructed the police to look into the matter.

The police investigated Prasad and other Christians, and submitted their report to the Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) stating that, “These Christians only pray and worship; they pray in the name of Jesus and healings take place; they do not do any conversion activity.”

Jaiswar comments that “the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh [a Hindu nationalist organisation] were shocked that the police were supportive of the Christians and thus they explored other means to stop Pastor Prasad from ministering to the people”. 

Bihar: Pastor and church members brutally attacked by mob of Hindu extremists; further attacks feared in revenge for arrest of one person

On Sunday 5 June, a mob of 25 Hindu extremists belonging to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) stormed into a church in the city of Patna, in the Indian state of Bihar, brutally assaulting its pastor and all those attendence, including women and children, with bamboo sticks, belts and stones. Many sustained severe injuries and were admitted to hospital. One arrest has so far been made in connection with the attack.

Meeting together in India as Christians can carry great risk.jpg
Meeting together in India as Christians can carry great risk
The incident began at around 1:30pm at the India Mission Centre at Kas Mahal, Patna, when two young men, disguised as students and living in the neighbourhood of the church, disrupted the worship service. The men argued with church members, accusing them of conversion activity. Stones and verbal abuse were thrown by the two men, who have since been identified as Vishnu Kumar and Rahul Kumar.

“The church service was disrupted by members of the ABVP disguised as students. They stormed the venue, created a disturbance and proceeded to beat the Christians present using their belts. They also pelted stones at the women and children present,” said Arun Kumar, a local church leader, speaking to Barnabas Fund.

“When Pastor Meera Rani attempted to intervene in the situation, she too was beaten up by the attackers,” Kumar added.

The attackers were soon joined by Golu Kumar and a mob of around 25 people, all from the ABVP. The Akhil Bhartiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP) is the student wing of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), the main political power in the Indian government. ABVP is known to be violently opposed to minority groups.

“Soon a mob also came and joined the attackers. They beat the Christians present with bamboo sticks, used their belts on women and children, and pelted stones. The pastor was beaten up again,” Kumar said to Barnabas Fund. “Many of the Christians were seriously injured and had to be admitted to the local hospital for treatment and first aid”.

Kumar added, “Pastor Meera Rani suffered a fracture in one of her fingers, her back is blue with the beating and she also received a cut under her ear”.

The police are investigating the case and so far one person has been arrested, but this in itself may lead to further attacks on the church.

“The attackers have threatened the church members and the pastor that they will take revenge as one of them is under arrest,” said Arun Kumar. “The ABVP people have warned the Christians not to conduct any more worship services in the church or else next Sunday they will come with guns and swords and will kill the Christians and cut them to pieces.”

The church has approached the police for protection and they have assured them of this. However, the landlord in whose property the church has been meeting is now under pressure and has asked the church to vacate the property by Sunday (12 June). The church has been meeting together in the area for the last six years but has only been meeting at their current location for the last six months.

“Tension and fear prevails. We ask that you pray for our protection, so that we can worship in safety without fear for our lives,” pleaded Kumar.

Click here for source

Friday, June 10, 2016

Hindu extremists in India beat young Christian woman unconscious

On Sunday 15 May, Kamli Kawasi, a 22-year-old woman, was severely beaten and left unconscious by four young Hindu men who came hunting for her younger brother at their home in a village 40 kilometres from Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh state. Kamli’s crime was being a Christian.

Kamli (centre) with her brother and mother

Kamli, along with her brother Bamaan (19) and their mother, attended the Sunday worship service at a church four kilometres from their village, Parapur, on the morning of 15 May. Parapur falls under the Lohandiguda area in the Bastar district of Chhattisgarh state. That evening, the four young men (aged between 16 and 24) came to their house, hunting for Bamaan. They wanted to beat him up because the family were Christians.

“Because of you, our gods and goddesses are leaving the village and running away,” they told Kamli. They blamed the family for causing deaths in their village. “A child in the village had died a natural death and these young men blamed the Christians for causing this death by leaving their own faith and following Christ, thus causing Hindu gods to get angry”, said local pastor, Bhupendra Khora, to Barnabas Fund. 

They also accused the Christians of practising ‘black magic’.

Kamli was hand-grinding the grain in the courtyard when the young men started to verbally abuse and physically assault her. Bamaan and his mother, who were inside the house, heard the commotion and remained where they were. The young men dragged Kamli by her hair and mercilessly beat her chest, face, abdomen and all parts of her body, resulting in her falling unconscious. Her assailants then fled.

Kamli’s uncle, who lives nearby, happened to visit the family’s home and found Kamli unconscious outside in the dust. It was then that Bamaan and their mother came out of hiding. They immediately rushed Kamli to the government hospital in Lohandiguda. “Kamli regained consciousness on Tuesday (17 May) and was able to state her ordeal only then”, said Khora.

When a team from the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) visited Kamli on her third day in hospital, she was still bleeding heavily. She stayed in the hospital for eight days and was then transferred to a Christian hospital in Jagdalpur. Kamli's brother, Bamaan, spoke to EFI and told them, “They would have killed me, if I came out of hiding”.

It is more than 15 days since the attack, and Kamli, her brother and mother have not been able to go back to their village. “After being discharged from the hospital on 24 May, they have taken shelter at a believer’s house”, Khora said. “They have been threatened not to enter the village. ‘We will kill them, if they return’, the extremists have warned”.

According to sources, each evening since the attack the four young Hindu men return to the family’s house in the village searching for them.

Khora said that a First Information Report was registered with the police on 24 May, “but no investigations have been done by the police untill now”. Khora, along with Kamli, her brother and mother, visited the Additional Superintendent of Police on 31 May, stating that they have not been able to return back home because of the threat of further attacks. “He has assured us of some action against the assaulters”, said Khora.

Khora added, “Kamli complained of not being able to hear in her left ear after the assault and still has chest pain”. He continued, “They are poor and illiterate, they do not know what to do and how to face the situation. They are frightened but yet don’t want to leave Christ”.

Khora continued, “Though Parapur is a tribal village and tribals are animists and worship nature or ancestors, they have [now] started to worship Hindu gods and goddesses. It is a part of the Bajrang Dal’s mission to Hinduize the tribals”. The Bajrang Dal is a militant Hindu organisation that forms the youth wing of the Vishva Hindu Parishad.

Click here for source