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Pastor Sharma Beaten up in Urla near Raipur , Chhattisgarh

By Global Council of Indian Christians

2/20/07 India (Persecution Update India) – Kanhaiyalal Sharma, from a Brahmin background, moved to Raipur from UP about 13 years ago, and found work in a steel factory there. He also found the Lord, and committed his life to him about 12 years ago. His wife Kantibai and he have two children, the older a daughter Triveni, about 20, married and the younger, a son Raju,14, studying in high school. They live in Sarora, a settlement just on the outskirts of Raipur , capital of Chattisgarh state, in Bajrang nagar. Kanhaiyalal has been employed in a steel factory nearby for several years, and has been conducting service in his church called Milap Mandali, in a hall on the roof of his own house in the colony, for the past five years. About 50 people used to attend the services.

About a year ago, religious extremism reared its head in the locality and a group of about 200-250 persons got together and launched an attack on their assembly even as they were worshipping. They trespassed into the home and destroyed furniture, valuables, the phone, and TV as well. After this incident the number of believers attending the service has dwindled to about 15 regular believers. The family continued to face various kinds of harassments from some of the more bigoted people living there. They were often told they should not live there because they are spreading their religion.

At 10 am on 19th Feb 2007, Kantibai was filling water at the public tap. A young girl from the village nearby wanted to fill her pots too, but Kantibai asked her to wait for her turn. The girl insisted, and angry words were exchanged between the two. Then the girl went to her house and reported the incident. Kantibai returned home, thinking no more of the matter. But a little while later, three youngsters, a brother and two cousins of the girl appeared at the doorstep and started abusing Kantibai roundly. Then one of them, Jogeshwar Sahu, just about 18 years old, grabbed Kantibai by her hair, dragged her out on to the open road, and beat her up severely, all over the head and face. When Raju, her son, tried to stop them from beating his mother, they turned on him and beat him as well. The boy ran to a public phone nearby to call his father, who had a cell-phone. Kanhaiyalal came rushing back about 10:30, but the attackers had left.

They went to the Urla police station to file a complaint but the police (Inspector Vishwas Chandrakar) refused to register a complaint. The family of the boy arrived there and put pressure and used other means to persuade them not to register the complaint. They sent him back saying it was a petty fight and could be resolved between the families concerned. The phone number of the police station is 07071-2323512. Kanhaialal also approached the SSP but he drew a blank here as well, with the police officer saying that as the attacker was a minor they could not take any action.

Kantibai had to have an X-ray to investigate an injury to her nose, and also has black eyes and several injuries. She was treated at the government hospital but they have refused to give them the papers relating to her case, saying that they will give them to the police as it was a police case. He has approached leaders of the Christian community in Raipur but even they have said that they are not able to take the matter forward. Kanhaiyalal plans to write to the Governor in this regard.