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04/22/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – According to Morning Star News, a pastor in India’s Karnataka state was brutally attacked and forced to preform Hindu rituals by a mob of radical Hindu nationalists. Local church leaders claim the incident is only one of eight attacks on local Christians.

On April 5, Pastor Sanjay Bhandari and his wife were visiting relatives in Halaga village when they were attacked by a mob of radical Hindu nationalists. The mob dragged Pastor Bhandari out of his relative’s house, beat him, mocked him, and dragged him to a rented worship hall he used to lead Sunday worship services.

According to Morning Star News, the mob falsely claimed Pastor Bhandari engaged in illegal religious conversions to justify their assault.

They abused me and Jesus Christ in filthy language and pressured me to hail, ‘Jai Sri Ram’, as they beat me,” Pastor Bhandari told Morning Star News. “They hit me on my private parts, my face, chest and all over my body accusing me of trying to convert my sister-in-law. I tried telling them that the home belongs to my sister-in-law, and that they are already Christians and members of my church.

When the mob arrived at the worship hall, they forced Pastor Bhandari to perform several Hindu rituals. The mob then forced Pastor Bhandari to apply a Kumkum to his forehead and apply the Kumkum to his wife’s head.

They tortured Pastor Sanjay physically and mentally,” Santosh Satpute, a member of Pastor Bhandari’s church, told Morning Star News. “He was forced to perform Hindu rituals against his free will. The harassment and torture he went through is beyond description.

The mob then told Pastor Bhandari that he was not allowed to be seen in the area again. They also demanded that he close the church he has led for the past seven years.

Local Christian leaders reported the incident to police. However, a police report was not filed against the assailants until an attorney, hired by Pastor Bhandari, petitioned higher police officials and reported the incident to local media. To date, no arrests have been made by the police despite seven individuals being identified in the police report.

For interviews, please contact Alison Garcia: [email protected].