Despite Persecution in India, “I will live for Him alone”
ICC’s India Representative
09/18/2017 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – It started as a normal Tuesday morning for Pastor Gunsingh and his friend, Mansingh. Every Tuesday, Pastor Gunsingh would visit one of the local Christian family’s homes in a nearby village to host prayer services. Every Tuesday, radical Hindu villagers watched him. But this time, 25 radical Hindu villagers stopped Pastor Gunsingh and Mansingh and decided to attack them for their faith.
While traveling to the weekly prayer service, the mob of radical Hindus stopped the two Christian men. “They asked us where we were going… when I told them that I was going to conduct [a] prayer meeting in the village, that’s when they got furious and started to beat us with sticks and stones.”
Pastor Gunsingh continued to tell International Christian Concern (ICC) about the attack. “Someone from the back hit me hard on my head; I fell to the ground, even before I could get up, each one [took] turns to hit me and Mansingh using the wooden stubs, while others used stones.” Soon, Pastor Gunsingh’s eye was bleeding from the blows he sustained. “For a [moment of] time, everything looked like a blur…” Mansingh lost complete hearing in one ear while the attack partially damaged his other ear. “Mansingh [and I] were so helpless even to protect ourselves in defense from the hands of these Hindu radicals.”
Physically attacking Pastor Gunsingh and Mansingh was not enough. In an effort to ensure that the two Christians could not easily travel to get medical care, the mob damaged the Christians’ motorbike and emptied the gas tank.
Finally, after “looking at our hopeless condition, the Hindu radicals left us alone.” After the mob left, bystanders stared at the two men and moved on. They knew why the men were attacked and they knew better than to help. “[They didn’t] help us to either to the nearest clinic for the first aid or to reach us to our respective village. [Walking back], it was hard and difficult and I wondered whether we could make to our homes at all. After an hour, we managed to get up, take the motor bike, and started to walk back while pushing the damaged motorbike. With much difficulty, we managed to travel around two kilometers and took rest for an hour and then continued our walk back home.”
When they finally got home, they thought about reporting the attack to the police, but they knew better. “I knew what [would] happen if I [went] to police station, they would further harass me and Mansingh for the kind of work (pastor) that I was involved in,” admitted Pastor Gunsingh. In addition, the police would also know about the nine Christians recently jailed for taking children to a Vacation Bible School, so it was even less likely the police would help Pastor Gunsingh and Mansingh.
When Pastor Gunsingh and Mansingh went to the local primary health clinic, they received a quick “treatment on the wounds and gave us pain killers etc.… [but] couldn’t do [a] proper checkup and tests for the proper treatment on the wounds and internal injuries, as we cannot afford it, due to our economic [poverty].”
News of the attack quickly spread and Christian attendance at church and prayer services plummeted. “More than 70 Christians from Kadhalkogaom stopped meeting for any kind of Christian gathering, and I was strongly advised not to enter into the village.”
This isn’t a new story for Christians in India. They are frequently targeted and assaulted by radical Hindus who are trying to stop the spread of the Gospel. Yet, Christianity still grows because of the faithfulness of Christians like Pastor Gunsingh and Mansingh, men who refuse to stop following God, “No matter what the cost is, for following Jesus and serving him, I will live for Him alone.”