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India: Christians attacked during prayers, beaten by police when they register complaint

Christianity has been in India since apostolic times, brought there by St. Thomas the Apostle in A.D. 52, as attested by St. Ephraim, St. John Chrysostom and St. Gregory the Theologian, among others. St. Thomas was martyred in India in A.D. 72. Today the Malankara Orthodox Church of the East still survives there, an apostolic Church that broke with Holy Orthodoxy over the Council of Chalcedon in 451. There also remains a small number of Orthodox Christians under the jurisdiction of the the Holy Metropolis of Singapore.

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

“Christians attacked during private prayer meeting,” Christian Solidarity Worldwide, November 1, 2022

Approximately 15 Christians were attacked by right-wing Hindu fundamentalists in Sukma District, Chhattisgarh on 21 October.

Local sources report that a mob burst into a private home where the Christians had gathered for a prayer meeting at around 9pm. The mob is said to have physically assaulted those gathered and demanded that they forsake their religion. The victims, who sustained minor injuries, later alleged that an off-duty police officer was also among the attackers.

Immediately after the attack, the victims attempted to register a First Information Report (FIR), which is required for the police to open an investigation, at the Golampalli Police Station in Sukma district. However, as the area is under the influence of Naxalite insurgents, there is a government order in place that means police personnel are not on duty after 6pm so the victims were unable to contact the police.

The victims proceeded to contact the Chhattisgarh Christian Forum (CGCF) on the evening of 21 October, who in turn contacted the Superintendent of Police (SP) of Sukma District. The SP directed the victims to go to the police station the following morning and assured them that the police would take action.

The Christians followed the SP’s directions and went to the police station on the morning of 22 October to file a complaint so that the police could register an FIR, however the Station House Officer (SHO) is said to have verbally abused them and insulted their religion and caste. The SHO refused to accept their complaint and did not file the requisite medico-legal case which would have enabled an investigation into the injuries caused to the Christians. The SHO also failed to respond to subsequent contact from the CGCF.

On 23 October, the victims returned to the police station to register their complaint, however, on orders of the SHO, two police officers known only to CSW as Major and Kitto, the latter of whom is said to have been among the mob that carried out the initial attack, beat the complainants thoroughly. The victims included women and a Christian constable from the same police station who also worked as a pastor and had been among those assaulted on 21 October….

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