Christians Flee Indian Village After Hindu Mob Brutally Attacks Pastor and Church Member
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A house church in India's Chhattisgarh state was reportedly attacked by a mob of 200 radical Hindu nationalists earlier this month, leaving two Christians with serious injuries.
International Christian Concern (ICC) reports the brutal attack started when a radical named Sanjith Ng barged into a worship service taking place in Odagoan village on Jan. 9.
After entering the church, Ng attacked members of the congregation, beating on them, and then dragged Pastor Hemanth Kandapan outside where a mob was waiting. Villagers said the crowd beat Kandapan and another Christian named Sankar Salam so badly that both were hospitalized with severe internal injuries.
During the attack, the mob cursed the Christians and accused them of illegally converting Hindus to Christianity. The pair were told they would be killed if they continued to hold prayer events in the village.
"I was under house arrested for nearly nine hours," Kandapan told ICC. "All through that time I was hackled and abused by the mob even in the presence of the police."
A day after the attack, a Christian woman named Sunderi Bathi was forced to convert to Hinduism. Leaders of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) also pushed other Christian villagers of Odagoan to participate in the Ghar Wapsi ritual, which means "coming home."
Fearing their lives, at least five Christian families fled Odagoan and have taken shelter in nearby villages.
"The situation in the village is still tense," Pastor Kandapan told ICC. "We do not know how long these families will have to stay out of their homes."
As CBN News has reported, Christian leaders in India have demanded that local law enforcement authorities respond with "strict action" to such incidents.
For example, three Christian women were seriously injured in October when a huge mob of radical Hindu nationalists attacked congregants at a church in India's Uttarakhand state.
The attackers were identified as members of the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), VHP and Bajrang Dal. They claimed that their actions were appropriate and accused the church of engaging in illegal conversion activities.
Hindu radicals also ambushed four Christian women in August while they gathered for prayer together in the Sarurpur village of India. The women's wounds ranged from a leg fracture to a serious head injury.
And in July, Pastor Balwinder "Bagicha" Bhatti was found dead near a street in Ferozpur (Punjab). The Protestant pastor was ambushed, beaten, and fatally stabbed in the back of the head with a sharp weapon.
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