A pastor leading a private prayer meeting in Northern India said he was dragged from the gathering and beaten by radical Hindu nationalists, arrested and taken to jail where the beating continued.
The July 28 incident, reported by International Christian Concern, was initiated when members of the extremist Bajrang Dal physically attacked and verbally abused several women and two men heading to the gathering in Kanshiram Colony, Uttar Pradesh. The Bajrang Dal, according to the Christian Post, is a youth militant group affiliated with the Vishva Hindu Parishad and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a Hindu extremist umbrella group.
Pastor Raju Prassad said the attack continued when the Bajrang Dal dragged him from the home and beat him. Responding police then arrested the pastor and members of his small fellowship for allegedly converting individuals to Christianity, a crime in many Indian states, including Uttar Pradesh. Pastor Prassad insisted he was only praying when the assault began. The Christians were taken to the Chakeri police station where the militants continued to beat the pastor.
After being detained for five hours, police determined no conversions were taking place during the gathering and Pastor Prassad and his members were released. No action was taken against the attackers.
The incident is the latest in a string of escalating attacks against Christians by radical Hindus who often use “anti-conversion” laws to instill fear. In its report on the attack, the ICC said Pastor Prassad anticipated opposition but was surprised and fear-stricken by the assault.
A month earlier, ICC reported another attack in a Sheohar neighborhood in the northern state of Bihar, India. In that case, Pastor Shelton Viswanathan ended up with fractures to his neck and face after eight young Hindu radicals knocked him from his bike and beat him while he was delivering Christian literature. According to ICC, police officials refused to register the case. This is reportedly a common practice and seems to have contributed to the rise in violence against religious minorities in the region over the past two years.
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SOURCE: Christian Headlines, Lori Arnold