Assailants Released by Police Only Hours after Arrest
11/20/2015 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that a pregnant Christian woman, along with 40 other Christians, were attacked and severely beaten by Hindu radicals in India’s Telangana state for holding a prayer meeting in a private home. Several Christians were injured in the attack, including the pregnant Christian woman who lost her baby after four months of pregnancy.
According to local sources in the Mahabubnagar District of Telangana, approximately 40 Christians in the village of Balanagar gathered in the house of a local Christian on October 12 to hold a prayer meeting. At approximately 7:30 p.m., a mob of 60 Hindu radicals led by the former village surpanch (village council president), Mr. Sati Srinivasulu, stormed into the house shouting anti-Christian slogans. Without explanation, the mob of radicals began beating the Christians.
One Christian was severely injured when he was hit in the head with a brick by one of the radicals. Not even the Christian women and children were spared from the beating. Swapna, a 25-year-old Christian woman who was four months pregnant at the time, begged the radicals to spare her because of her pregnancy. Unfortunately, the radicals beat Swapna as severely as the other Christians. Following the attack, Swapna was bleeding from her genital region and was rushed to the hospital where doctors told her she had lost her baby.
The Christians filed a First Information Report (FIR No. 278/2015) against their assailants at the local police station. Authorities arrested seven individuals connected to the assault, but all of those taken into custody were released on bail that same day around 11:30 p.m.
“This is a cruel act carried out in the name of Hindu nationalism,” Pastor David, leader of the Independent Church in Balanagar told ICC. “Fringe Hindu radicals portray Christians as anti-nationals so innocent Christians are punished for no wrong doing.”
“This is a highly condemnable act and the perpetrators should be punished under the law,” Rev. Ronal John, President of the Telangana Christian Joint Action Committee, told ICC. “The Christian community across the Mahabubnagar District are deeply distressed.”
ICC’s Regional Manager for South Asia, William Stark, said, “This attack on Christians in Balanagar is just one more sign of growing religious intolerance in India. Hindu radicals, who continue to go unchecked by the government, are dividing India along religious lines and labeling religious minorities, including Christians, as inferior and anti-India. This sentiment has led to an increased number of religious freedom violations being committed against Christians, including entire villages in Chhattisgarh outright banning Christianity by ordinance. India’s government must do more to secure the religious freedom rights of all of its citizens, including Christians, and to punish those who actively violate these rights. Unless this is done soon, India risks losing its reputation as a pluralistic and tolerant democracy. ”