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02/23/2019 India (International Christian Concern) – On February 3, a group of Christians worshiping at a house church named Philadelphia Church in Karkeli village, located in India’s Chhattisgarh state, were attacked by a mob of Hindu radicals. According to local reports, the situation was instigated by politicians who stirred up villagers into attacking the small church.

Anger against members of Philadelphia Church began to boiled over when Hindu villagers demanded the Christians participate in local Hindu traditions, customs, and rituals. When the Christians refused, they were told that they were cut off from village’s water supply, prohibited from burying dead bodies, and banned from work. When the social boycott did not deter the Christians, an attack on the group was planned.

The attack began on February 3 at 9:00 a.m. when a villager called the owner of the house where Philadelphia Church is located to come outside to speak with him. When Lakhmu, the home owner came out, a mob of forty radicals were waiting for him. The radicals proceeded to attack him after he refused to stop hosting worship in his home.

The Christians inside the house heard the commotion and proceeded outside to help Lakhmu. Unfortunately, they were also beaten. The mob beat everyone from the congregation with sticks regardless of age or gender. Fifteen of the Christians were hospitalized from their injuries including one woman with a fractured hand that required surgery

A First Information Report (FIR) was filed against the perpetrators under sections 147, 294, 296, 298, 323, 324, and 506(B) of the India Penal Code (IPC). Twenty-seven of the accused were arrested and later released on bail for the crime. Police came to the village to warn the villagers to stop attacking Christians, but they declared that if the Christian faith continued to be preached in the village they would drive the Christians out.

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].