Delhi: Hindu extremists attack praying Christians praising Rama
The attack with swords, sticks and batons took place on Sunday 20 August, during the prayer service. Protagonists of the raid are over 40 people, belonging to radical Hinduvta movements. Sacred objects and a copy of the Bible desecrated. At the time of the complaint, another 300 people linked to radical factions have carried out a new assault.
Delhi (AsiaNews) - A new attack by Hindu fundamentalists against a group of Christians intent on attending Sunday services, in which not even the elderly and women were spared.
The raid, characterized by "assaults, vandalism and physical abuse", took place on August 20 at the hands of an armed Hinduvta group who raided a prayer hall in Tahirpur, East Delhi area, in the eastern sector of the capital.
Local sources report a crowd of fanatics, made up of over 40 people, holding weapons such as sticks, batons, swords and intent on chanting hymns and slogans attributable to radical Hindu movements. The attack took place at 10.45 in the morning, while the victims were gathered for a moment of prayer inside the Siyyon Prathan Bhawan.
During the attack, the fundamentalists vandalized the images of Jesus and destroyed the altar, drums and other musical instruments, also ripping out several pages of the Bible. They then dragged some men out of the prayer hall and beat them.
Pastor Satpal Bhati tells AsiaNews that yesterday, when it was time to file a police report, a crowd of over 300 people linked to the radical factions RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal gathered outside the barracks chanting slogans and hymns including "Jai Shree Ram” (Glory to Lord Rama). He explains it was a response to the initiative of Christians who wanted to resort to the police to obtain justice and see those responsible for the previous day's raid punished.
According to some sources, the members of the Bajrang Dal (Hindu nationalist organization, youth wing of the Vishva Hindu Parishad) promoted the attack on Christians who are part of an independent Protestant group and gathered in prayer.
During the assault they repeatedly chanted the slogan “Hindu Rashtra Banayenge. Jai Shri Ram” (We will make India a Hindu nation. Glory to Lord Rama). "As a community, we usually gather to pray every Sunday" underlines pastor Satpal Bhati "and we did the same this Sunday too".
Retracing the incident, the Christian leader noted that immediately after the prayer loud music started outside the gate, hence the decision to close the door to avoid further disturbances to the rites.
"The moment one of my collaborators - he says - approached to close the gate, a crowd of people, including very young children, broke in singing Jai Shree Ram". At the sight of swords, sticks, rods and truncheons, the faithful were surprised and astonished, not understanding for several minutes what was happening.
When the assailants started hitting people and objects, vandalizing the place of worship, those present understood the matrix of the attack: using the weapons available, in fact, the extremists devastated various sacred and non-sacred objects, tearing up and desecrating even large parts of the Bible.
The police collected the complaint and opened a file against unknown persons based on articles 323 (voluntary injuries), 452 (trespassing for the purpose of assault), 295 (destruction of a place of worship), 296 (disturbance of a religious assembly) , 298 (words, acts with the deliberate intent to hurt religious feelings), 354 (use of criminal assault or force against a woman), 153A (promotion of enmity between different groups on account of religion) of the Indian Penal Code.