Father and Son Brutally Attacked by Radicals in India’s Madhya Pradesh
By ICC’s India Correspondent
08/13/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – “I cried so much and begged them with my hands folded to spare us, as my son already slipped into unconsciousness with the bleeding injuries,” said 43-year-old Ramesh Vasunia, the pastor at a local church in Jaida village, located in India’s Madhya Pradesh state.
Ramesh and his son Rahul were brutally attacked by a mob of 30 Hindu radicals while returning from a prayer meeting in Pipplipara village on July 10. They were both hospitalized due to serious injuries from the attack.
“The attack took place at around 5:00 p.m.” Pastor Ramesh told International Christian Concern (ICC). “My son and I traveled about two kilometers by motorcycle from Pipplipara village after meeting at Chattar Singh’s house for prayer.”
“We did not know that a mob was waiting for us,” Pastor Ramesh continued. “We were stopped by a mob of 30 Hindu radicals. They started beating us without giving us the chance to ask the reasons for the attack. In spite of us begging them to stop, they continued to attack and damaged our motorcycle.”
“They beat us for more than half an hour using sticks and wooden clubs,” Pastor Ramesh said. “My eyesight started to get blurry and I could hear the screams of my son and a voice from the crowd saying, ‘Kill them!’ Then I saw one person lifting a big rock to crash [on] my head and I thought to myself that they will kill us.”
“One of our church members came and rushed us to the hospital,” Pastor Ramesh recalled. “Rahul was unconscious and I was partially conscious.”
Pastor Ramesh felt powerless when he attempted to file a complaint with the police about the incident. He was even threatened by a police officer when he issued the complaint, who said that he would be arrested for preaching about Jesus.
“I couldn’t argue further with the police officer as he spoke same language as the attackers. We had nobody to defend us.”
“When I went to [the] police station after three days with the complaint, the police in charge of Antarveliya station threatened me with abusive language,” Pastor Ramesh said. “He told me that he will send me to jail for preaching about Jesus and said, ‘Don’t you know that the BJP is in power?’ I couldn’t argue further with the police officer as he spoke same language as the attackers. We had nobody to defend us.”
Back on October 12, 2017, Pastor Ramesh and his church members suffered a similar attack and were jailed for six months on trumped up forced conversion charges. Pastor Ramesh later reported that they were beaten in jail and forced to complete menial tasks such as cleaning toilets.
Although India is a democratic nation, Christians across India are facing severe intolerance and discrimination. In spite of this, Pastor Ramesh has not given up hope in God and says that his faith has given him strength.
“God has been faithful all these years,” Pastor Ramesh told ICC. “He gave us the strength we needed to endure suffering and hardships for His name. Jesus suffered far beyond what we went through. We are ready to suffer and even die, but will not give up on our faith.”
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