• Persecution Watch July 1-15, 2016

    Pastor and elderly mother assaulted in Church attack

    July 3, 2016: Pastor Satpal Singh, 48, his elderly mother, son and nephew were severely assaulted in a brutal attack by 12-15 men from the Sikh community in village Mallian of district Gurdaspur, Punjab on 3 July 2016. The attack took place on a Sunday early before the Church service when there were about 15 women Church members besides Pastor’s family. “Except for us, all others present were women who had reached Church early to help in the preparation of Lunch for the entire Church,” said Pastor Singh while speaking to EFI. The attackers were carrying wooden sticks, sharp weapons with which they hit Singh, his son and nephew while the women fled. “The men verbally abused us and demeaned our faith in Christ as they hit us,” added Singh. The mob hit Singh’s mother 90-years-old with a brick which hit a little above her left eye. “We immediately rushed her to the hospital, where her wound was stitched and she was hospitalized for few days,” added Singh. The mob vandalised the Church breaking the cross, door and windows until their Hindu and Sikh neighbours intervened. An FIR was registered in the local police station but no arrests have been made yet. Singh and his family put their faith in Christ 20 years ago from their Sikh faith. Serving the Lord full-time, they have a congregation of around 60 members, all from different faiths. “While we have a good testimony in our neighbourhood, these 8 Sikh families have come together and have been threatening us for more than a year now for spreading the Word and conducting Church and prayer services in the village,” said Singh.

    Christian girl denied last rites in Christian cemetery

    July 5, 2016: A Christian girl Indu, who died a natural death was taken for her last rites to a Christian cemetery where she was denied burial by Hindu Extremists on 25 May in Jalandhar, Punjab. The cemetery is a common land given to the Hindu and the Christian community as a graveyard before India got independence in 1947 said Anoop Masih, an auto-rickshaw driver. Masih himself was severely beaten on his genitalia by eight Hindu extremists last month after he opposed the desecration of the Christian side of the same graveyard by some Hindus. He is still undergoing treatment for the same and is recommend surgery for the injury on his testicles. Representatives from the Christian community approached the local authorities but no action was taken. Eventually Indu but no arrests were made so far, said Masih while narrating their ordeal to EFI. Indu was buried on the third day from her death in a Roman Catholic Graveyard. “They have intentions to grab the whole graveyard land for the Hindu community. The memories of our beloved are in these graves and almost 100 years since the Hindu’s and the Christians have been using the graveyard but now suddenly things have changed,” said Masih highlighting the change since Bhartiya Janta Party formed government at the Centre. No action was taken even after an FIR was lodged against the miscreants till 14 July,2016.

    Portion of Christian graveyard encroached cemetery

    July 6, 2016: A contractor developing a ‘Krishi Mandi’ (Farmers Market) near a Christian graveyard, damaged three graves and encroached some portion of the graveyard land during the process in village Bamaniya, Tehsil Petlawad of district Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh. The graveyard – a property belonging to the Church of North India (CNI) is said to be around 100 years old. The Church authorities along with the local Christians approached the Revenue Officer and Sub Division Magistrate who put a stay on the development. They instructed the Church to fence the Church boundary to avoid further mishaps.
    Petrol Bomb Damages Church in Karnataka

    July 14, 2016: A petrol bomb damaged the Tomlinson Church of South India in Tumkur of Karnataka around four o’clock early morning of 14 July. According to the footage captured on the CCTV camera, a man is seen throwing the petrol bomb towards the Church’s main door informed a source. The Church care-taker who lives in the campus, on hearing the explosion rushed to the sight and quickly raised alarm. He alongwith some residents poured water to extinct the fire. The front door and the side walls of the Church suffered damages. “If the care-taker had not acted promptly, the Church would have suffered a lot of damage,” said the source to EFI. It is an 86 years-old Church and has a congregation of about 200 families. After the incident, the Deputy Superintendent of Police and major political leaders visited the Church and have assured speedy investigations.

    Issued by:

    Rev. Vijayesh Lal,
    Executive Director,
    Evangelical Fellowship of India,
    New Delhi, India.

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