4/8/2015 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern)-Christians across India have well-grounded concerns over the rise in attacks against them despite the so-called promises of protection from Indian Prime Minister Modi. vowed to protect religious minorities, while speaking at a Christian function last month, Modi’s remarks to protect religious minorities, spoken last month during a Christian function, came during a time when the government was under severe criticism that he had not done enough to stem religious tensions.
In just the last few weeks Christians have seen their churches vandalized, pastors attacked and illegal detention of innocent pastors and Christian workers become increasingly rampant. The safety and security of Christians is the cause of the concern, as they are targeted by the Right Wing Hindu Nationalist organizations.
In one such incident, members of the ‘Christ Jesus Witness Prayer Church’ were attacked by a group of Hindu radicals because they objected to the placement of the saffron (Hindu religious) flag adjacent to the Church in Malkajgiri, Hyderabad, Telangana, on 30th March 2015. According to sources who reached out to ICC, A mob of 30 Hindu radicals led by Mr. Golla Balraju, Mr. Nagaraju and Mr. Ramchander attacked the Christians at the Church premises when they voiced their objection to the placement of the flag. Two Christians, Mr. P. Benjamin and Mr. Jason were severely injured in the attack; Mr. Benjamin was hit on his left ear and lost his hearing.
Later, the Hindu radicals went to the police station and submitted a written complaint, accusing the Christians of creating communal tension, essentially blaming the aggressive mob attack on the Church members who requested the flag not be hoisted on the Church building. The Christians were then taken to the police station, and were further assaulted by the police
Rev. Emmanuel, a local Christian leader termed this incident as a conspiracy, telling ICC,, “the provocative activity carried on by Hindu radicals is clear demonstration of the hate towards the minority Christian community.” He continued saying, “the physical violence on the community again proves the apathetic attitude of the local administration as if the fringe elements are emboldened by the political affiliation”.
In another incident, a pastor was assaulted and brutally beaten up by Hindu radicals due to the fact that the pastor teaches the Bible. According to Pastor John Paul, in charge of Nirikshana Prardhana Mandiram, the Church has been running for the last eight years. During this time, on several occasions, Pastor John Paul was threatened to stop the Church activities, but he refused.
It was on March 19th 2015, when more than 40 people broke into the Church. The assailants first jumped over the compound wall and then broke the door of the Church. The attackers wanted to beat pastor and those gathered for the prayer; however, after learning that there was nobody in the Church, they forced themselves into the Pastor’s house, which is adjacent to Church.
With loud anti-Christian slogans, the mob went into the house and started beating the pastor and the family members. The pastor was brutally beaten all over his body and sustained a severe eye injury.
Pastor John Paul, speaking to ICC, said, “I persevered through 8 long difficult years, it was very scary and pathetic condition, when the mob attacked me in my house, punched me on my face and kicking me all over my body, I was trying to find, the reason for the aggression of the Hindu hardliners, but they did not listen to me. The neighbors came as my rescue.” While grieving, he said, “they destroyed calendars with the Bible verse on it, and the house articles were damaged in the process”.
The onslaught assaults of the right wing Hindu hardliners can be witnessed in all corners of the country, leaving Christians in difficult position. These developments challenge the Government’s sincerity and integrity in its intentions towards minorities. The more vulnerable the community of Christians becomes, the more prayer they need.