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Hindu Extremist Youth Beats Pastor’s Wife in India

Young man was part of mob attack on pastor and others in December 2005.

by Vishal Arora

2/23/07 India (Compass Direct News) – A young man who attacked five Christians in December 2005 beat the wife of one of the victims this week in Raipur , the capital of Chhattisgarh state.

Jogi Sahu, a 19-year-old man allegedly associated with Hindu extremist group Dharma Sena, beat Kanti Sharma, the wife of Pastor Kanhaiya Lal Sharma, on Monday (February 19) in Raipur ’s Sarora Industrial Area.

“Sahu, who was one among the crowd that attacked me earlier, beat up my wife under the pretext of taking revenge for arguing with him over a dispute concerning a common tap for potable water,” Pastor Sharma told Compass.

Sahu had manhandled a female minor who had objected to him cutting in front of her to fill his bucket at the community water spout, Pastor Sharma said. The pastor’s wife told him to stop mistreating the girl.

A few minutes later, after Kanti Sharma had gone home, Sahu and his two brothers arrived, dragged the pastor’s wife from her house by the hair and beat her in front of local residents. Kanti Sharma bled from her nose and her eye became swollen.

Pastor Sharma, who was away on an errand, returned and took her to the Urla police station. Officers refused to register a complaint against the attackers and insisted that both parties work out their differences on their own.

They also made Kanti Sharma wait for more than two hours for the arrival of the police inspector before allowing her to get hospital treatment. Her doctor suspected a minor nose fracture.

An officer at the Urla police station told Compass that there was no religious motive for the attack, but Christian leaders in Chhattisgarh said the tap water incident was a mere trigger point for venting opposition to Christian meetings in pastor’s house.

Pastor Sharma said he has faced opposition and isolation in the area ever since he received Christ and left Hinduism five years ago. He has been hosting Sunday worship service in his house since 2002.

“Sections of local people do not like the fact that Christians come to my house for worship every Sunday,” he said.

Sahu was one of the attackers in a December 4, 2005 incident in which about 30 Dharma Sena extremists beat five Christians – Masih Das Rai, Anmol Kamble, Ram Vilas Yadav, Ramesh Das Manikpuri and Pastor Sharma. The Hindu extremists attacked during a Sunday worship service in Pastor Sharma’s house. (See Compass Direct News, “Christians Attacked in Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh,” December 6, 2005.)

While 30 people were beating the Christians, the Dharma Sena had about 200 others gathered in front of the house to prevent anyone from escaping. After beating the Christians, the Sena extremists tore their clothes and paraded them throughout the area as they continued to beat them.

They then took the five Christians to a temple where they pressured them to bow down to the idols and to shout “Jai Shri Ram [Hail god Rama].” The extremists forced Kamble and Pastor Sharma to sign a document saying they were indulging in forced and fraudulent conversions.

Police detained Rai and Manikpuri for questioning but filed no First Information Report against the Dharma Sena, in spite of persistent requests by Christian leaders present to do so.

Recent Attack

Dharma Sena extremists on February 2 attacked a pastors’ conference at the Singh Palace banquet hall in Pandri, a sub-district of Raipur, injuring at least 10 Christians.

The extremists gave the “Hail god Rama!” shout as they beat the Christians with sticks, insulted them and accused them of forcibly converting Hindus. (See Compass Direct News, “Hindu Extremists Attack Pastors’ Conference,” February 5.)

Christians in Chhattisgarh say the state government ruled the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party allows Hindu extremists to launch anti-Christian attacks with impunity.

On February 9, the Chhattisgarh Christian Forum held a rally along with the local Communist Party of India-Marxist in Raipur to protest the increasing number of anti-Christian attacks in the state.

They also submitted a memorandum to the state governor, requesting him to ensure protection of the Christian community.