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India: Christian Leaders Are Attacked with Swords

Christianity has been a presence in India since the days of St. Thomas the Apostle. The Indian Orthodox Church, or Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church, severed communion with the Church of Constantinople in 451, over the definition of the natures of Christ at the Fourth Ecumenical Council, the Council of Chalcedon.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in India, see here.

“Christian Leaders Are Attacked with Swords in Northern India,” Morning Star News, April 22, 2024:

NEW DELHI (Morning Star News) – A group belonging to a Sikh warrior order last week attacked a pastor and another Christian with swords and knives in northern India’s Punjab state for leading church worship in their village.

Four Nihang Sikhs, who as members of the traditional warrior group are permitted to carry such weapons, attacked Pastor Gurjeet Singh, alias Gurjeet Rinku, and his younger brother Gurdeep Singh on Thursday (April 18) in Sultanwind village, Amritsar District, a relative said.

The assailants first told Gurdeep Singh, and later Pastor Singh, “We have warned you earlier as well to not conduct church and not convert people, but you have not paid heed,” according to Daljit Kaur, the pastor’s wife and an eyewitness.

The four Nihang Sikhs found Gurdeep Singh standing outside the house where the worship service is held at about 9 a.m.

“Finding him alone, these men pounced on him and struck him with swords and knives,” Kaur told Morning Star News.

Hearing the commotion, she and Pastor Singh rushed outside, and the pastor rushed to rescue his brother. The mob swiftly turned to the pastor and struck him with several blows of the sword, Kaur said.

“They were targeting his head,” she said. “To protect his head, Gurjeet shielded every blow with his hand and thus sustained severe cuts on both his hands, his arm, his palm and they almost chopped off his thumb.”

Gurdeep Singh, shielding his head with his hands, sustained deep cuts on his head, hands and one wrist.

The assailants constantly used abusive and coarse language as they stuck the brothers, Kaur said. They accused the two Christians of conducting church services and luring villagers and others from nearby areas to convert. They also told Gurdeep Singh that the brothers had failed to cease worship after they had given the pastor enough warnings, she said.

“My husband was threatened twice by the Nihang Sikhs earlier, but he did not tell me anything about the threat – he knew I would begin to worry,” Kaur said.

She rushed the brothers to the private Amandeep Hospital in Amritsar after two other hospitals refused to treat them because of the severity of their injuries, Kaur said. Pastor Singh received one unit of blood.

“They somehow managed to stop the bleeding temporarily and asked me to deposit money first before they would start the actual treatment,” she said.

Soon Kaur arranged for an ambulance to rush them to Christian Medical College & Hospital in Ludhiana, 90 miles from Amritsar.

“I did not have money to treat them in Amritsar,” Kaur said.

The same night, the doctors conducted an MRI scan of Gurdeep Singh’s head and stitched his cut, she said. Both Christians underwent surgery the next morning for wounds on their hands.

“Both Gurdeep and Gurjeet’s hand cuts are deep, and thus the doctors said that they had to be operated on,” Kaur said, her voice wavering.

The Christians have yet to file a police complaint….

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