Women Missionaries Beaten by Fanatics
2/6/07 India (ANS) — Four women serving as Gospel for Asia missionaries in Haryana , India , were severely beaten in their home on Sunday. Two GFA pastors were also injured in the attack, which was carried out by radical Hindus.
Hindu religious fundamentalists have been making every possible attempt to stop all Christian work in this state for some time, said K.P. Yohannan, founder and president of Gospel for Asia . These fundamentalists routinely target Christians, and now they are even attacking women.
Public attacks on women in India are rare, and this incident has stirred the concern of GFA leaders.
This is too much! said Simon John, a GFA senior regional leader, who has reported it to the minority commissioner.
Missionaries Vanmala, Lata, Udaya and Ramita have been working in this area for about a year. On February 4, anti-Christian fundamentalists ordered them to vacate the house immediately. They also told the women to call their supervising pastors, who immediately came to the home.
The women and the pastors were still inside when hundreds of people surrounded the house. Then a group of the fundamentalists broke in and accosted the women and the two pastors who had come to their assistance. Reports indicate that one of the leaders of the group, who is also a local police officer, used his police night stick to beat the missionaries during the assault.
When the attackers finally left, the missionaries sought refuge in the GFA-affiliated church in that area. News of the attack, including photos of the injured women and the pastors, was published in the leading Hindi-language newspaper.
Haryana is one of India s least evangelized Christian states, and the four women have faced fierce opposition since they began ministering to the people there more than one year ago. Their attackers represent three different Hindu fundamentalist groups, all with ties to the Sangh Parivar, a group of organizations promoting the Hindutva philosophy. Hindutva literally means Hindu-ness.
These organizations are part of a growing Hindu supremacist ideology that has a purely Hindu nation as its goal. To be Indian is to be Hindu, this dogma declares. Those who hold to this philosophy are part of a small but powerful group of extremists attempting to control the Dalit (Untouchable) and low-caste majority for their own gain.
When we look at the history of the human race, we see this is not an uncommon occurrence, Dr. Yohannan said in a previous commentary. In countries ruled by Communist governments, it is not the masses but the minority that holds a totalitarian ideology. Without Christ, the human heart never changesit is always hungry for power.
The Taliban used force to exert five years of stringent control over the entire nation of Afghanistan . And that is exactly what is happening in India a radical minority is attempting to Hinduize a nation of over a billion people. This kind of thinking ultimately leads to ethnic cleansing, such as we have seen in Rwanda and Bosniaand also in a mild form in the Indian state of Gujarat.
The three groups represented in the attack include the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (National Volunteer Corps), also known as the RSS, the Sanghs paramilitary force. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council), or VHP, is the cultural mobilization arm of the Sangh. The Bajrang Dal is the groups youth militia, which is known for its violence.
The Sangh also has a political party, the Barantya Janata Party, or BJP, which provides political candidates, many of whom have been elected and now serve in various national, state and local offices throughout the country.
GFA leaders ask for prayer for the healing and safety of the missionaries involved in the attack as they continue to share the Gospel in Haryana. They also seek prayer for the fundamentalists who carried out the beating, that they would come to know Jesus as their Savior and abandon the pursuit of Hindutva.
Read more about Gospel for Asia womens ministry teams at www.gfa.org/women and learn more about the Indian state of Haryana go www.gfa.org/haryana