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Compass – Eight local extremists attacked pastors and vandalized equipment at a Pentecostal healing event with 500 people in attendance in Delhi , one of three cities that make up the National Capital Territory , on Friday, October 14. Six pastors sustained injuries in the attack. The attack took place at the Indian Pentecostal Church ’s “Festival of Healing,” held at Khushi Palace marriage hall in Dayal Pur, in Delhi ’s northeast district. At the event, prayers were to be offered for healing of the sick.

“Five people stormed the stage at about 3 p.m., while we were leading in praise and worship,” said one of the pastors, who requested anonymity. “They asked us to stop the meeting. And before we could understand what was happening, one of the attackers snatched the microphone from my hand and shouted, ‘Bharat mata ki jai [Praise the mother India goddess].’”

The Hindu extremists damaged the public address system and drum sets. Then they picked up chairs and struck the Christians, he said. Three people quietly attending the meeting were part of the violent band. They joined the five extremists when they began the attack.

“The attackers hit Pastor K.Y. Babu, the main speaker, on his head – his white shirt turned red with blood,” the pastor said. “They hit Pastor Justin on his forehead and near his eyes. His forehead and eyes swelled immediately.”

Four more pastors – K. Varghese, George Wilson, Victor Masih and Robin Masih (the organizer of the program) – received injuries. The extremists also seized a cell phone, wristwatch, and digital camera from Pastor Babu. They also tried to snatch a cell phone from Robin Masih, but it fell and broke.

While the extremists were trying to flee, some Christians attending the meeting caught one of them, Chandra Bhan, a resident of neighboring Kamal Vihar in the Karaval Nagar area. When police arrived, they rushed the injured pastors to Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital in Dilshad Garden . Pastor Babu received 10 stitches in his head; others were given basic first aid.

The police then took the pastors and Bhan to the Gokal Puri police station.

“There were more than 300 people and two local politicians belonging to the Bhartiya Janata Party [BJP], Mr. Mohan Singh Bisht and Mr. Mehek Singh, at the police station,” the pastor said. “Some people in the crowd warned us that we should not conduct any such meeting in the future.”

Inside the police station, the BJP’s Bisht asked the victims to reach an agreement instead of registering a formal police complaint. “When we asked him what about the damage done to our equipment and injuries received by the pastors, he replied, ‘You are fanning the fire,’” the pastor said. “Seeing such a huge crowd, we had no option but to bow down to the demand for a compromise.”

Despite the serious nature of the attack, the police chose not to file charges. All the attackers, including Bhan, remained at large at press time.

The “compromise” did not include any compensation for the damage to the equipment or the recovery of seized equipment…[Go To Full Story]