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Pastor and Church Attendees Beaten and Jailed in India

By James Varghese
7/24/08 KARNATAKA, INDIA (ANS) — A pastor and members of his church were attacked by Hindu radicals recently.

The incident, another in a series of attacks on Christians by Hindu radicals, occurred on July 20 in Davangere, Karnataka.

According to a story by www.persecution.in, the alleged assault occurred as Pastor Lakshman Naik was holding a regular worship service at Gypsy Prayer Hall. Suddenly a group of 40 Hindu radicals stormed the church at about 12:30 pm.

The story reported that the attackers were led by Mahesh Salimada, and were members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Ram Sena (Army of Ram) and Rashtriya Swayam Sevaks (RSS, National Volunteer Servants).

The web site reported that after their initial attack, the alleged perpetrators began shouting and insulting the pastor and forced him and two other believers outside the church, where they began to beat them. During the attack, the mob took Bibles and hymn books outside the church and burned them.

According to the story, Naik and the two other church attendees were taken to the local police station after the attack, and charged with forced conversion and being unpatriotic. They were also reportedly abused by an investigating officer, and their injuries were ignored.

According to www.persecution.in, Naik’s wife and their three children came to the police station and pleaded for the three men to be released. However, the story reported, they were prohibited by the attackers from entering the police station and warned that they also faced being attacked and put in prison.

The Global Council of Indian Christians was notified of the attack two hours after it occurred, and began working to secure the release of the men. That occurred at about midnight on July 20.