Persecution Watch, February 9, 2016
Note : Some incidents carry related photos. Clicking on the image will open them in a new window for a better view.
Evangelist beaten in Erode, Tamil Nadu
January 17, 2016: According to reports received from ADF, a Christian evangelist was brutally beaten by a mob of more than 100 Hindutva fundamentalists for sharing a Bible with a person who had wilfully requested and accepted it from the evangelist.
Pastor viciously attacked and grievously injured during the church service in Theni, Tamil Nadu
January 17, 2016: According to reports received from ADF, a Pastor from Kambam, Theni District, Tamil Nadu was attacked and injured by a Hindutva activist. The pastor who belongs to a Pentecostal Church in Kambam, was attacked while he was carrying out the Church worship service. He was attacked on his head, using a heavy and sharp object and bled profusely as a result of his injury. He was admitted at the government hospital and received emergency treatment.
Christians attacked in Odisha
January 19, 2016: Christians in Digal village in Mottu village, Podia block, Malkangiri district in Orissa were beaten up in the presence of the police by local Hindu radicals. On January 19, 2016, the Christians in Mottu village were called by the police to a certain location. On reaching they were ambushed and beaten up by local radicals insisting that people who worship Jesus Christ should not live in the village. The mob was led by the village head. Christians were beaten in front of the police who did not help them.
Women’s meeting stopped in Anuppur, Madhya Pradesh
January 19: 2016: A women’s prayer meeting organized at Anuppur, Madhya Pradesh was disrupted by RSS members. The RSS members barged into the private meeting, misbehaved with the women participants and used abusive language. They also informed the police alleging that conversions were going on. The police came and arrested 4 women who were leading the meeting and took them to the Venkat Nagar police station. Distressed by the behaviour of the RSS members and the subsequent action of the police, the women who were attending the prayer meeting went to the police station in a combined group and confronted the policemen. This action resulted in the release of the 4 leaders of the prayer meeting. The police however warned the women not to pray together but in their own homes.
Pastor summoned in Doiwala Police station in Dehradun, Uttarakhand
January 21, 2016: Pastor Radheshyam Saksena from Dehradun was summoned at Doiwala police station on alleged charges of forced conversion received by the police from unknown people. The Doiwala police warned him not to share his Christian faith in the area.
Pastor attacked by Hindu extremists in Dehradun, Uttarakhand
January 24, 2016: Pastor Jaison from Hope India Ministries was attacked by Hindu extremists during the Church service in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. The worship service was disrupted by around 40 people who barged in and stopped the worship service. The Police soon followed and took Pastor Jaison to the local police station. At the police station the policemen allegedly threatened Pastor Jaison and told him to discontinue conducting worship services on Sunday. He was kept in the police station premises and questioned throughout the day by the police and the local intelligence department. Pastor Jaison has been pastoring the Church in the area for the last eight years.
Pastor abused, humiliated, paraded in Orai, Uttar Pradesh
January 29, 2016: Hindu extremists kidnapped, beat up, and humiliated Pastor Avdhesh Savita in Orai town, Jalaun district, Uttar Pradesh. Pastor Savita was kidnapped by members of Yuvavahini (a Hindu extremist outfit) posing as policemen. He was taken to Bajrang Dal head office in Orai town from his native village of Rendhar. He was beaten up on the way there and once he reached the Bajrang Dal office, the combined members of Bajrang Dal and Yuvavahini beat him up even more. They then proceeded to shave half of his head, his eyebrow, half of his moustache, put him on a donkey and paraded him for more than half an hour before the police intervened. Charges of forced conversion were alleged on Pastor Savita by a man called Sangam Jatav, who had approached the Bajrang Dal and was part of the mob that humiliated and beat the Pastor.
Jatav had claimed that Pastor Savita had taken him and two others to Varanasi last December and there had forcibly converted them. Jatav’s claims were refuted by two people he named. The police have registered an FIR against 100 – 150 unknown Bajrang Dal members, and have arrested Sangam Jatav and 9 others who also have FIR’s registered against them at Rendhar and Orai. Akhilesh Dhiya, the district convener of the Bajrang Dal is absconding.
Catholic priest, Church members attacked by a mob in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
Image3 January 28, 2016: Fr. Jose Kannumkuzhy and three members of Diocesan Pastoral Council were beaten up by a group of 35 young people, suspected to be members of right-wing Hindu groups, on January 28, 2016. Fr. Kannumkuzhy and the three Christians, Lijo, Joseph and Stanley, were visiting the Assisi Snehalaya (abode of love) in Ettimada, 20 km south of Coimbatore. During their trip they also had planned to visit the Ettimadai police station and were waiting outside when the attack took place.
As they were sitting in their car, a mob appeared suddenly and started attacking them. They tried to escape in their car, but the mob followed them and caught up with them as they entered a national highway. Lijo, who was driving the car, approached police jeep to seek help. However, the policemen refused to intervene. The mob attacked them with granite stones lying on the highway. They tore the priest’s cassock and punched him. Not only this, they were made to walk nearly 2.5 kilometres while the attackers asked them to “call on their Jesus to protect them”. The priest and the fellow Christians were admitted to nearby K G Hospital on the same day of the attack. Fr. Kannumkuzhy, who is 49 years old, continues to be in the intensive care unit and is under severe trauma due to extensive head injuries. The three lay people were discharged on January 31.
Pastor beaten up in Banswara district, Rajasthan
January 31, 2016: Pastor Galia Damor was beaten up by members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad at Churada village, Banswara, Rajasthan on January 31, 2016. He was on his way to lead Sunday worship service at the Church he pastors and was travelling by the bus to reach his destination. As soon as he got down from the bus, four men came to him and demanded that he prays and heals a sick person then and there. When he suggested that they should take the person to a hospital instead, the extremists pushed him and beat him up with belts. They were shouting slogans against religious conversions in the village. Although the pastor has given a written complaint at the local police station, no action has been taken till press time.
Christians missionaries threatened in Hantarganj, Chatra, Jharkhand
January 31, 2016: A group of missionaries were kidnapped and threatened by Hindu extremists in Mahgodwa village, Hantarganj of Chatra district on 31st Jan 2016. Hindu extremists who had kidnapped the Christians, kept them illegally under their custody for some time, only to release them later after sternly warning them not to enter the village again.
Christians Missionaries severely beaten and arrested in Churu, Rajasthan
January 31, 2016: 11 Christians including 3 women were beaten up and later handed over to the police in Sardarshahr, Churu, Rajasthan. The incident took place when a visiting team comprising of 9 Christians from North east India (including 3 women) and two Christians from Punjab were invited to pray for a sick girl in ward number 13, Sardarshahr. As soon as local Hindu extremists got to know about this, they gathered a mob of more than 400 people, ambushed the house, beat up the Christians and handed them over to the local police. The crowd did not even spare the women and the uproar went on for about 2 hours. The Christians, who were falsely accused by Hindu extremists of having given large sums of money to people to convert, have chosen not to file a complaint despite being injured as a result of the attack.
Pastor and wife attacked, Pastor critical
February 5, 2016: Pastor Simon Tandy and his wife were attacked by Hindu extremists in what was made to look like an accident on February 5, 2016 near Kanker, Chhattisgarh. The incident took place almost a week after Pastor Simon and his wife were threatened of dire consequences by Hindu extremists as they disrupted the worship service in the Church that is pastored by Pastor Tandy on January 31, 2016. The police intervened and made sure that Pastor Tandy was unharmed. The attackers however left after issuing a warning.
On the day of the second incident Pastor Tandy was on the way to Kanker with his wife when his two wheeler was allegedly rammed into by the Hindu extremists who fled the spot. At the moment Pastor Tandy is admitted in Raipur since it was not possible to treat him at Kanker given the basic facilities there. He continues to be critical. His house meanwhile is being visited by Hindu extremists who are threatening his wife not to take any legal action.
20 Christians including a pastor arrested in Robertsganj, Uttar Pradesh
February 6, 2016: 20 Christians including a Pastor were attacked, manhandled and arrested at Robertsganj in Uttar Pradesh’s Sonbhadra district. Pastor Sajju John was having a meeting with fellow believers when Dharamvir Tiwari, Ex District President of the BJP and leaders of the Hindu Jagran Manch (HJM) along with member of BJP and the HJM surrounded the house where the meeting was going on. They rounded up the Christians and had them arrested. The Christians were taken to the local police station where they were questioned. They were later released close to mid night after spending an entire day at the police station.
Pastor and two Christians arrested at Noida
February 7, 2016: Pastor Rampal and two Christians identified as Lalu Gautam and Ranjeet were arrested by the local police in Noida and taken to the Noida Phase 2 police station for questioning. They were arrested from Sector 93 in Noida where Pastor Rampal was conducting a worship service. He was about to serve the holy communion when the police came and took him along with the two Christians. They were questioned by the police on complaints received from local Hindu groups who were alleging that Pastor Rampal did not have permission to hold Christian meetings as the Church is not registered. The three were also taken to meet the local intelligence office for questioning. They were released later in the evening and no charges were filed against them.
Rev. Dr. Richard Howell,
Evangelical Fellowship of India
New Delhi, India