A mob of 40 Hindu extremists stormed a prayer service, seized those present and set fire to their prayer hall. They also tore a clergyman’s cassock and then snatched and trampled copies of the Bible because the temporary prayer hall did not have the “right” permits.
Nizamabad (AsiaNews) – A mob of 40 Hindu radicals attacked and beat members of a Pentecostal community in Gopanpally, Nizamabad (Telangana).
During the attack, they also set fire to temporary Pentecostal prayer hall. Six of the victims were taken to a hospital, including a four-year-old girl with a broken leg.
“This is a serious criminal incident,” Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), told AsiaNews. “The mob of suspected Hindu radicals attacked Christians and burnt their prayer room. The radicals made baseless and fabricated accusations of forced conversions".
The attack took place last Friday (18 March) when the still unknown criminals stormed the hall, seized those present and then set fire to the place.
According to the local police superintendent, the village council (panchayat) had objected to the hall, claiming that it was not properly built. After this, a mob rushed to the site to stop the prayer.
“It was a very scary scene,” said Rev Nitin Kumar, the Pentecostal minister. “They tore my cassock and I received blows, punches, and kicks from all directions as I was their prime target. Bibles were snatched from us, then torn and trampled. Believers ran in all directions chased by the mob”.
What happened in Telangana is just the latest in a long series of acts of violence perpetrated by Hindu extremists against Christians.
Recently, 15 men – probably from the Bajrang Dal, the militant youth wing of the Hindu ultranationalist Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) – attacked another Pentecostal church in Chhattisgarh.