02/17/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – On February 11, Christians in India’s Jharkhand state were brutally attacked by religious nationalists who accused them of constructing an unauthorized church and converting people to Christianity. As a result of the attack, three Christians were hospitalized with serious injuries and 12 were falsely charged of various crimes.
The attack took place while Christians in the Meral village were working on the construction of a new church building. According to local sources, a mob of 30 religious nationalists, led by a man named Shankar, raided the construction site and attacked the Christians. Many Christians were quickly injured in the attack including Pastor Ramnath Ram, Pravesh Ram, Sunil Ram, Shiv Shankar Kumar, Shambhu Kumar, Ayan Kumar, Anita Devi, and Ruby Devi.
“The mob was shouting that the Christians were converting people to Christianity,” an eye witness told International Christian Concern (ICC). “They said they would not let the Christians continue to live in this place.”
As a result of the attack, three Christians were seriously injured. Pastor Ramnath Ram, Pravesh Ram, and Jai Murty Kunwar were all hospitalized due to the severity of their injuries.
Following the attack, local police filed FIR No. 20/21 against 12 Christians that were attacked by the mob. Three Christians, including Sunil Kumar, Sambu Kumar, and Aryan, were arrested immediately and sent to jail.
“This seems to be a pre-planned incident,” a local Christian, who requested anonymity, told ICC. “The radical nationalists somehow wanted the church to be shut down in this village. That is why they targeted the pastor and the construction of the church building.”
Jharkhand is one of the nine states in India to have enacted an anti-conversion law. Radical nationalists often misuse these controversial laws to harass and intimidate Christians. Using false accusations of forced conversions, radical nationalists are able to gain legal immunity for their assaults on religious minorities.
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