Christians are often blamed for daring to attend worship services as nations begin to re-open.
But in India, Hindu Nationalists have launched a wave of anti-Christian violence with devastating results.
“They kicked me like they would kick a football…”
Our brothers and sisters are under attack.
Since the COVID-19 lockdown was lifted, anti-Christian terrorists have come out of hiding with renewed boldness—but the media blatantly refuses to report on their actions.
Radical Hindu nationalists have assaulted Christian communities across India eight times in the last few weeks, with devastating results.
International Christian Concern (ICC), a human rights organization, has tracked this spike in anti-Christian sentiment, linking it to a decrease in COVID-19 concerns.
The organization reported “physical assaults, damage to Christian properties, and threats issued by radical Hindu nationalists.”
In one such incident, Hindu radicals attacked a Christian pastor who was ministering to the sick in his village of Kolonguda.
Pastor Suresh Rao was praying for a sick villager when a mob, stirred up by anti-Christian rhetoric, broke into his house and dragged him out into the street.
“They kicked me like they would kick a football,” Pastor Rao reported. “They dragged me into the street and pushed me to the ground.”
“There, they started to trample on me. They tore my clothes, kicked me all over my body, and punched my left eye.”
Thankfully, Pastor Rao survived the attack, but the injuries he sustained will follow him for the rest of his life.
“I have sustained a serious eye injury as a result of a blood clot.”
Pastor Rao, along with many other Christians across India, has faced Hindu pressure for years, but he admitted that it’s been escalating in recent months.
“They said that India is a Hindu nation, and there is no place for Christians.”
But the pastor won’t be dissuaded from proclaiming Jesus.
“I am prepared for this kind of eventuality,” Pastor Rao said. “I know the cost of serving Jesus in these remote villages, and I will continue to serve the people of this region.”
ICC believes that the end of lockdown measures has signaled a new wave of persecution, and Hindu groups are emboldened by the lack of response toward anti-Christian violence.
Another Christian leader, Pastor Augustine, reported that his church was threatened before reopening.
The members of Laymen Evangelical Fellowship Church were preparing to resume services after lockdown when a group of Hindu radicals appeared on the property.
The radicals told Augustine’s congregants that praying or gathering at church was forbidden and claimed that Christians had caused the coronavirus to spread.
Pastor Augustine and his congregation want nothing more than to reopen and start having services again, but they don’t know if the Indian government will provide protection from these terrorists.
“We don’t know what [the] future holds,” Pastor Augustine admitted. “However, we are concerned that the radicals will not allow us to have a church service.”
Yet the Supreme Court of India has already permitted the public observance of a major Hindu festival amid COVID-19 concerns, citing the importance of “faith and religious rituals.”
It’s blatant discrimination and Christians have already felt the brunt of the government’s decision.
Real Peace Church, located in the village of Vaylur, was burned to the ground by “unknown individuals” before it could reopen, leaving 100 Christians with no place to worship.
It is suspected that radical Hindu leaders attacked the church in secret.
“I was so distressed and pained in my heart [when I received the news],” said Pastor Ramesh, the church’s leader.
“It was hard labor for 10 years to build the church. All the hard work and sacrificial donations from the poor congregants were brought down to the ground. All that is left is ash.”
Pastor Ramesh admitted, “In the last ten years, I have been told numerous times by radicals to close the church.”
“By God’s grace, I was able to endure all these hardships and abuses, but this time it is total devastation.”
Thus far, the Indian government has not spoken out against radical Hindu groups and no protection has been offered for Christians facing violence and threats.
Let’s pray for our brothers and sisters in India! May God grant them safety and the strength to stand in the face of persecution.