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India: Hindu Extremists Beat Pastors at Police Station has documented numerous incidents in which Hindu extremist mobs in India target Christians because Christianity is widely regarded as a foreign faith in India, despite the fact that its presence there goes back to apostolic times.

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

“Hindu Extremists Beat Pastors at Police Station in India,” Morning Star News, September 30, 2021:

NEW DELHI (Morning Star News) – A Hindu nationalist mob this month beat three pastors and manhandled an officer at a police station in the capital of central India’s Chhattisgarh state, sources said.

Police disrupted the worship of New Life Fellowship Ministry in Raipur on Sept. 5 and summoned pastor Harish Sahu to the Purani Basti police station. The officers arrived in a police van with eight to 10 Hindu nationalists, Pastor Sahu said.

“I was conducting the worship when they arrived,” Pastor Sahu told Morning Star News. “The policemen asked me what I was doing, and I said that I was sharing the Word of God from the Holy Book.”

The Hindu extremists in the police van tried to enter the church building, he said.

“The Hindu mob tried to enter the church while I was preaching, and I saw that the police blocked the entrance of the door and refused to let them in,” he said. “Then a police officer entered the church, filmed the service for few minutes, clicked some pictures and went outside and showed the video and pictures to the extremists.”

Police told Pastor Sahu to come to the police station, and he said he would come after the service. He showed up at the police station at noon and was waiting for two other pastors, Ankush Bariyekar, general secretary of the Chhattisgarh Christian Forum, and Prakash Masih, while some 200 Hindu extremists stood outside shouting anti-Christian slogans, he said.

After police began questioning the pastors, the Hindu mob stormed into the station shouting obscenities and anti-Christian chants, a video of the attack on social media shows.

“Beat the [obscenity deleted] with shoes who carry out religious conversion,” the assailants shouted as they made their way to the office where police were questioning the pastors, the video shows. The Hindu extremists then pounced on the three pastors and assaulted them with their shoes and sandals, the 42-year-old Pastor Sahu said.

Pastors Bariyekar and Masih were in front and were badly beaten, Pastor Sahu said, adding, “I was at the back, so I was relatively safe, and only a few blows landed on me.”

A police officer tried to control the assailants and push them out of the chamber, but they would not listen, said Pradeep Dubey, a member of Pastor Bariyekar’s church who accompanied him to the police station and recorded video of the assault.

The mob manhandled Station House Officer Yadumani Sidar as he tried to keep them from hitting the Christians and ordered them to leave, and two other officers arrived and helped push the assailants out of the office, Dubey said.

“Force was deployed outside as the situation outside was quite tense,” Pastor Sahu told Morning Star News. “The right-wing Hindu mob outside had multiplied during the time we were inside the chamber. The forces were ready with their batons to charge against the mob, but thankfully the need did not arise.”

Police kept the three pastors at the police station until 5 p.m. and filed a First Information Report (FIR No. 234/21) against 10 Hindu nationalists, Investigating Officer Nitish Singh Thakur said. Those named were charged under Indian Penal Code sections for obscene acts and songs, voluntarily causing hurt, criminal intimidation, voluntarily obstructing any public servant in the discharge of his public functions, using criminal force and rioting.

Police arrested two of the accused on Sept. 6 and another on Sept. 7, Thakur said.

“All the others are absconding, and search is on,” he told Morning Star News….

Since COVID-19 lockdown restrictions were eased and churches began to open again, attacks on Sunday worship have been reported every week from various places in the state, Pastor Sahu said.

“This is a pattern that they [Hindu extremists] are following in all the churches in and around Raipur,” he said. “They are going to various churches and targeting them.”…

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