Rev Basant Kumar Paul heads the Evangelical Church in the village of Parihara. For activist, they were attacked because of their faith in Jesus Christ. The injured are in hospital in critical conditions and must undergo further surgery which they cannot pay for. The anti-conversion law is used to harass religious minorities.
New Delhi (AsiaNews) – In Jharkhand, a group of Hindu radicals attacked the family of a Christian clergyman whilst worshippers were gathered in prayer in his home church.
Rev Basant Kumar Paul heads the local Evangelical Church of the Calvary Gospel Ministry. The attack against his family took place on Tuesday in Parihara, a village in Garhwa district.
As a result of severe trauma to the head, the clergyman’s wife is now in a coma. Their son has a broken leg. Both were taken to Sadar Hospital, a local government medical facility.
Speaking to AsiaNews, Shibu Thomas, founder of Persecution Relief, an organisation dedicated to the defence of discriminated Christians in India, strongly condemned the umpteenth episode of violence against members of India’s Christian minority. The Church is praying for their healing.
Speaking about the incident, Rev Patsy David, also a Christian activist in India, noted that the family were victimised for their faith in Jesus Christ. They were attacked by “8 or 9 members of the RSS” (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh), an extremist Hindu paramilitary group.
Some “fanatics came to the house church, and started abusing and beating everyone,” including the pastor’s elderly mother, and “took the pastor’s watch and other equipment.”
Despite his injuries, the clergyman was able to reach “the police station and file a complaint, and then fainted. After that the police took him to hospital, where he was admitted”.
His wife and son are in the same facility in critical conditions. The doctors set the latter’s leg in a cast, but both will have to undergo further surgery at a cost of US$ 1,500, money which they don’t have, this according to Rev David.
For Shibu Thomas, the fate of local Christians has worsened “ever since the Anti-Conversion Law was passed in Jharkhand” in 2017. Now “Fanatics are taking full advantage of it and are beating and assaulting innocent people.”
What is more, “false complaints [about forced conversions]) are being filed against Catholic nuns, priests, pastors and [Protestant] believers. They strike and lynch Muslims at will. Ghar wapsi[*] have become regular features”.
All this has become normal. “The Chief Minister and others are mum about it. They should speak, loud and clear. Tribals are being harassed and forced into reconversion.”
Persecution Relief has recorded 330 hate crime incidents against Christians in 2016, another 440 in 2017, and at least 477 in 2018. Between January to September of this year, it counted 349 incidents involving persecuted Christians. (A.C.F.)
[*] So-called reconversion to Hinduism.