11/18/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – On November 14, a house church in Southern India was attacked by a mob of radical Hindu nationalists. Congregants were hit with stones and chairs as the radicals attempted to break through police called to the scene to protect the church.
According to Pastor John, leader of Mercy Divine Church in Bangalore, 35 police personal arrived at the church at 7 a.m. on November 14 because they received reports that radical Hindu nationalists were going to attack. Under police protection, Pastor John started the worship service at 10 a.m. as normal.
At around 11 a.m., a mob of 50 radical Hindu nationalists, belonging to the Hindu Jagarana Vedike group, approached the church, but were kept outside by the police. Members of the mob, led by two men named Rajanna and Manjunatha Reddy, threw stones and chairs at members of the church.
For nearly an hour, the mob remained outside the church, shouting anti-Christian slogans, and pelting the church with stones. During the ruckus, several members of the mob snuck into the church and stole the church’s speakers. The mob also damaged a car parked outside that was owned by a member of the church.
“This is not new to me,” Pastor John told International Christian Concern (ICC). “In the last 11 years, we have faced opposition at least twenty times. At one point, I was beaten unconscious. The attackers thought I was dead, so they threw me on the roadside. By the grace of God, I am alive and continue to serve him.”
Pastor John leads a congregation of approximately 120 members in a temporary worship hall. He reports this location has been threatened several times, but local Christians have remained strong in their faith.
A First Information Report (FIR) was registered against eight members of the mob, including Rajanna and Manjunatha Reddy. Whether the mob will be held accountable for their attack on Mercy Divine Church is yet to be seen.
Attacks on Christians and their places of worship in Karnataka, the state where Bangalore is located, have dramatically increased in recent months. Leaders in the state government have declared their intention to enact an anti-conversion law and this has encouraged anti-Christian actions by radical Hindu nationalists residing in the state.
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