Families Forced to Convert or Flee After Attack in East India
01/25/2022 India (International Christian Concern) – Earlier this month, two Christians sustained severe injuries when radical Hindu nationalists brutally attacked a Pastor and his Church members. According to Pastor Hemanth Kandapan, the radicals broke into the house where the worship service was going on in the village of Odagoan, Chhattisgarh, East India. They beat Pastor Hemanth and the believers in the congregation, while an angry Hindu nationalist mob waited for them outside.
The Pastor and a member of the church, Sankar Salam, were dragged out and further beaten by the crowd of more than 200 nationalists. The mob tormented the Pastor and Salam for allegedly converting Hindus to Christianity and have threatened to kill them if they continue to hold prayers in the village.
“I was under house arrest for nearly 9 hours,” said Hemanth Kandapan, “the entire time I was heckled and abused by the mob, even in the presence of the police.”
The next day, Christians of Odagoan were forced by the members of VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) along with the villagers to participate in the Ghar Wapsi (re-conversion) and were reconverted into Hinduism. Five Christian families fled Odagoan and are taking shelter away from the village.
“The situation in the village is still tense,” Pastor Hemanth said, “we do not know how long these families will have to stay out of their homes.”
Attacks and hate speeches by the nationalistic Hindutva groups and politicians have increased the level of persecution many Christians in the state of Chhattisgarh experience.
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