10/22/2020 India (International Christian Concern) – On October 16, a Christian worship service was attacked by a mob of radical Hindu nationalists in India’s Madhya Pradesh state. After being falsely accused of engaging in forced religious conversions, a pastor and seven other Christians were taken into police custody for questioning.
According to Pastor Dhanlal Pargi, 30 to 35 radical Hindu nationalists barged into a worship service taking place at India Gospel Church in Talabodi village, located in the Ratlam district. The mob, led by Bharat Gujjar and Bhavish Gujjar, confronted Pastor Mangilal Pargi and told him that Christian worship should not take place in the village.
“Members of the mob pulled the Bible from Pastor’s hands and yell at him saying that ‘Reading this Bible leads to many professing Christianity’,” Pastor Dhanlal told International Christian Concern (ICC). “They went on to tell Pastor that they would not allow this to happen.”
Pastor Mangilal started India Gospel Church in Talabodi nearly 35 years ago. Since the church was founded, Pastor Mangilal has faced significant opposition.
“The harassment from Hindu radicals is a constant thing,” Pastor Mangilal told ICC. “They bully us whenever we pass through their houses. They give us the ultimatum that we should close down the church because India is a Hindu country.”
According to Pastor Mangilal, the mob that attacked the church on October 16 also pressured local police into failing an FIR against him under the state’s anti-conversion law. However, after initially taking Pastor Mangilal and seven other Christians into custody, police released the Christians because no proof was provided by the radicals to support the FIR.
“We are living in fear of being attacked by Hindu radicals,” Pastor Dhanlal shared. “We stopped going out of the house after dark and have told other church members to be on guard.”
“The Hindu radicals have warned us to close down the church, so we are concerned about what will happen next Sunday,” Pastor Dhanlal continued. “We have been enduring this kind of situation for a long time and we know that we will have to continue to endure.”
“Their aim is to wipe out the Christian faith from the village,” Pastor Mangilal said. “But we know God will help the Christians to stand boldly in these intense times.”
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