Christians in India are facing horrific levels of violence from Hindu radical extremists. This deadly campaign coincides with a government agenda to turn the country into a Hindu nation. A report from VOM Canada's partner, CBN News, provides context for some of the situations being reported. Click here to view the report.
A recent incident in Uttar Pradesh illustrates the severity of the hate crimes inspired by religious intolerance against Christians in India. On August 21st, "Prasanna Kumar" (whose name has been changed for security reasons) was attacked and brutally beaten. Claiming that Pastor Kumar was forcibly converting Hindus to Christianity, ten men pulled him from his motorcycle and threw him to the ground, where they relentlessly kicked him and beat him with wooden clubs.
The attack became so savage that Pastor Kumar thought he would not survive. "God gave me the grace to accept even death," he proclaimed. However, the thought of leaving his wife and young daughter was excruciating. After physically assaulting him for nearly two hours, the men finally left, promising to kill the pastor if he ever returned to the village.
After Pastor Kumar was found, members of his congregation assisted him to the police station. However, local officers refused to file a complaint, claiming he was attempting to register a false report. Finally, after the intervention of a church leader from outside the district, a report was filed but to date no action has been taken against the attackers.
Shifting the blame from the offenders to the victims is not uncommon. In Badaguda, Odisha state, followers of traditional tribal religions have blamed the prayers of Christians for driving away their gods. In one instance, the village headman told a pastor: "When you pray, our gods leave us. So you must stop praying. We will not let you conduct prayers inside the village."
The Christians erected a temporary shelter outside the village, but it was destroyed and the church members were beaten. Rather than attempting to stop the attackers, however, the police have threatened to arrest the Christians for "disturbing the peace" should they continue to gather for worship. For more on the persecution committed against believers in India, go to our country report.
May the Lord mightily use His people in India as bright lights amid the darkness surrounding them. Pray that He will strengthen and protect His followers as they rebuild their Christian communities, share their stories of faith, and encourage others who have experienced the trauma of persecution. Ask Him to specifically intervene on Pastor Kumar's behalf, fully healing and strengthening him. Additionally, intercede for the authorities in India, that they will cease to ignore the mob violence directed towards Christians by taking a stand against discrimination and intolerance -- using the law to protect the rights of all India's citizens.