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11/01/2018 India (International Christian Concern) – On October 24, a mob of Hindu radicals attacked Pastor Hanumanth Rao while conducting a prayer meeting in a Christian home in Parupalli village, located in the Mahabubnagar District of Telangana. In the attack, the radicals also damaged a van that belonged to Pastor Rao.

According to Pastor Rao, eight church members, including himself, went to Parupalli to conduct a prayer meeting in the house of Mrs. Devamma. Around 8 p.m., when the meeting was about to conclude, a mob of people surrounded the house and demanded the pastor be given to them so that they could kill him. After a heated argument, the mob assaulted the Christians. One Christian woman was injured with cut on her hand.

Church members locked Pastor Rao inside the house to keep him safe from mob. Pastor Rao contacted police about the attack and police soon came to disbursed the mob. Later, Mrs. Devamma filed a complaint and the FIR (FIR no. 79/2018) was registered against 16 attackers said to be the leaders of the mob.

Rev. Ronald John, President of Telangana Christian Joint Action Committee, said these attacks are part of the violence related to the upcoming elections, with right wing groups wanting to create religious divides for their votes. Rev. John thinks things might even get worst as elections are fast approaching.

This is the second attack in the span of one month in the district,” Pastor Rao told International Christian Concern (ICC). “We are worried for the safety and security of pastors in the district.”

Speaking about the situation in Parupalli, Pastor Rao said, “The situation is very tensed and sensitive in Parupalli. No pastor or leader can go to the village to conduct the prayers.”

Following the attack, Mrs. Devamma was summoned by village panchayat leaders to a meeting where she was told her not to have Christian meetings in her house. The village leaders when on to demand she withdraw the case that she filed against the 16 attackers.

For interviews with William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].