In the past month, Hindu extremists in the state of Bihar, East India, have attacked Christians in two separate incidents. The first attack occurred on 5 April when a Christian man was intercepted on his way to a local village to tell people about Jesus. He was taken to a Hindu centre and beaten brutally for five hours. Five days later, on 10 April, a prayer meeting was raided by 35 men, leading to the beating of many believers.
The attack on the Christian man, a Bible College graduate called Deepak, was carried out by the Bajrang Dal and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), two Hindu groups, whilst he was travelling to the village of Budhani Chak, in the district of Patna in the state of Bihar. They bound his hands, legs and neck with chains, before beating him with rods, a belt, shoes and a sickle. After falling unconscious, the extremists gave Deepak water and rubbed alcohol into his wounds. They also forced him to drink urine.
The attackers, having made Deepak strip naked, took his clothes to hide evidence of the crime and wrote a false statement accusing him of offering ten-thousand rupees to convert people to the Christian faith. They then gave him electric shocks and threatened to throw him on a railway track unless he insulted the name of Jesus. Deepak refused, saying, “Kill me, but I will not abuse the name of Jesus.”
The second incident involved a group of 210 believers gathering for a conference over the weekend of 8-10 April in Nabinagar, in the district of Aurangabadin, also in the state of Bihar. On the last day, during a time of prayer following the baptism of 30 new believers, 35 radicals from the Bajrang Dal raided the meeting, beating several believers, including the pastor, Suresh Lakhra, and the conference organiser, Jebakumar Dhanraj. Abusive words were also hurled against the women present.
Police were called to the incident, but they did not want to register the case against the Hindus. They instead arrested the pastor on three charges, two of which do not allow a bail release. Two local newspapers also provided false reporting on the incident, including the accusation that the conference was attempting forceful conversions.
Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, said, “It is worrying … that the police are biased against the Christian minority, while they should maintain order and protect citizens.” He adds that “intolerance against Christians is growing in secular India.” Teams from Persecution Relief and the Alliance for Defending Freedom are helping assist the victims of those caught up in these two incidents.