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ICC Note:

Two Christian pastors in India were forced to apologize to Hindu radicals by police after they were attacked and beaten. According to reports, the radicals attacked the pastors because of a conference they were putting on in India’s Chhattisgarh state. Attacks on Christians and their places of worship in India have continued to dramatically increase since 2014. In just the first six months of 2017, India’s Christian community had already been attacked over 410 times. With police siding with their attackers, should Christians expect this number to continue to rise? 

12/13/2017 India (Christian Post) – Two pastors, who were attacked and beaten by Hindu extremists right before the beginning of a three-day Gospel meeting in India’s Chhattisgarh state, were forced to apologize because their conference and the words of Jesus caused radicals to be offended.

A local pastor told Morning Star News, a nonprofit news agency that reports on Christian persecution, that pastors Vijay Jogi and Santosh Rao were coerced by police into signing an apology letter to a mob of Hindus who prevented them from holding their Gospel meeting that was to be attended by over 1,000 people at Railway Grounds in Charoda.

On Nov. 16, a group of about 70 Hindu nationalists attacked the pastors just minutes before the event was about to start.

“Pastor Vijay Jogi and Pastor Santosh Rao were receiving the people at the entrance,” Pastor Amos James told the outlet. “Suddenly a mob of 70 Hindu Dharm Sena and Bajrang Dal activists gheraoed (encircled) the entrance, and Pastor Jogi and Pastor Rao were beaten and summoned to the police station.”

Jogi told Morning Star News that the extremists slapped Rao three times and then proceeded to beat them both.

Jogi explained that before the start of the meeting, he had received a call from local police warning them to call the meeting off. It wasn’t until after the attack that they realized that “these people will not let us conduct prayers.”

According to Jogi, the Hindu extremists became upset when they saw the words of Luke 7:22-23 in pamphlets around the area advertising the event.

That verse states: “And [Jesus] answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by Me.'”

“The Hindu activists began arguing with us, ‘You are promoting blind beliefs. How can lame walk? How can deaf hear? How can you raise the dead? When your God can do all this, why are you people going to the doctors then?'” Jogi recalled.

“They told me it is very wrong that I have written these lines,” the pastor continued. “I said, ‘I did not write these words. It’s a verse taken from the Holy Bible and applies to the entire humankind.”‘

The activists declared, “We are offended by these lines,” Jogi said.

“If because I quoted these lines in the pamphlet, it is offending you at personal level, I apologize to you brothers. We are very sorry,” Jogi recalled telling the Hindu radicals.

Although Christian leaders in the area have had no issues holding events in that location in the past 20 years, the Hindu mob reportedly claimed that the pastors needed to have approval for the event from the sub-judicial magistrate in addition to approval from the railway police.

[Full Story]

For interviews with William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org.