Amid tensions in southern parts of the east Indian state of Chhattisgarh, a mob of 50 people armed with homemade weapons attacked a community of 100 Christians, injuring at least 27, and attempted to rape a young woman, according to persecution watchdogs.
The Christians were attacked after midnight on Nov. 24, hours after they held a meeting to plan the observance of the Advent season and to celebrate the birth of a child in their community in Singawaram village of Sukma district in southern Chhattisgarh, the U.K.-based Christians Solidarity Worldwide reported.
The mob, comprised of men from the same tribe who were not Christian, also burned Bibles and damaged motorcycles belonging to the Christians, CSW said, adding that the attackers accused the Christians of destroying the local culture by practicing a foreign religion.
The U.S.-based Morning Star News, which reports on Christian persecution worldwide, said the attackers were carrying bamboo sticks, iron rods, bows and arrows, and iron sickles. They attacked a home, where about 25 friends and family were sleeping, as well as an adjoining church hall, where about 30 Christians were sleeping, it added.
“They beat up the children as well as the women who were cooking food outside,” a 21-year-old survivor, Laxman Mandavi, was quoted as saying. “While the children were beaten up with hands and feet, the others were shot at with arrows and beaten up with iron rods.”
Mandavi said four of the attackers attempted to rape a young Christian woman whom they found in a room. “The attackers surrounded an unmarried sister and tore her clothes, attempting to rape her. When she started screaming loudly, they dragged her outside and beat her black and blue. She sustained severe internal injuries.”
Another victim, 24-year-old Laxshu Madkam, was quoted as saying: “It was complete mayhem, and people were running to save their lives. I received two cuts on my back. My motorbike was broken. The attackers broke 10 more motorbikes. They pulled the petrol pipes out of 20 more bikes and let the fuel flow.”
Mandavi said some villagers had threatened his father about two months ago. “They planned to attack us, and nearly two months ago had even threatened that they will beat us. We know and recognize everyone who attacked us. Our relationship with them has been cordial historically, but we suspect that outsiders have provoked them against us.”
In three separate attacks, tribal villagers vandalized 16 houses belonging to Christians from the same tribe and attacked at least one tribal Christian woman, according to StoriesAsia, which said most of the Christian women in those villages had been living alone as male family members had fled into jungles for safety at the time.
The Bilaspur High Court later passed an order in a Public Interest Litigation filed by 12 Christians to seek security for the displaced Christians, the U.S.-based persecution watchdog International Christian Concern reported at the time.
“A few men attacked me and tore my clothes,” a Christian woman was quoted as saying.
“I kept pleading with them but they kept beating me. My only fault was that I follow Christianity,” said another woman.
Tensions in the villages in Kondagaon began after a local tribal priest, identified as Lakum Poyam, claimed that a goddess of the tribe had claimed ownership over those villages.
“Our deity has ordered that all the tribal people in the neighboring villages be united together. I participated in all the meetings where the conversion of Christians to Hinduism was planned. I have been telling the villagers about our goddess’ order for a while,” Poyam told StoriesAsia.
“I have a worship room in my house with a wooden structure in it. During the annual festival in the village, the goddess possesses the most suitable young man, who then carries that piece of wood. The wood then leads the man to a village, and the goddess then becomes the owner of that village,” he added.
“This shows that the ancestors of all these villages were the same. So how can anyone in those villages even think of practicing other religions?”
The attacks against tribal Christians are taking place amid radical Hindu groups’ campaign to stop the country’s tribal, or indigenous, people from converting to Christianity. These groups have been demanding that the government ban those who convert from receiving education and employment opportunities.
Most tribals do not identify as Hindus; they have diverse religious practices and many worship nature. However, the government’s Census deems them to be Hindu.
India is ranked at No. 10 on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of the countries where it’s most difficult to be a Christian. Open Doors notes that converts to Christianity from a Hindu background are “especially vulnerable to persecution” and are constantly under pressure to return to Hinduism.
Three Indian Christians Hospitalized After Attack on Birthday Party
India – Three Christians, including two pastors, were hospitalized following a brutal attack by Bajrang Dal activists in southern India. The extremists attacked after the Christians gathered to celebrate the birthday of a pastor’s son.
On March 1, a mob of 25 member of the Bajrang Dal attacked a gathering of Christians in Bilkondi village, located in India’s Karnataka state. The religious hardliners broke into the home of a Christian where the birthday celebration of Pastor Sadashiv Raju’s son was taking place.
According to the victims, the Bajrang Dal activists locked the door of the house from the inside to make sure no one could escape. The extremists then physically attacked the Christians.
“I tried to defend myself as six people constantly threw punches all over my body,” Pastor Raju told International Christian Concern (ICC). “They beat my wife as she tried to rescue me from the hands of the thugs. She was badly injured and was traumatized. She has shifted to her parents’ house to keep away from what has been going on after the incident.”
Pastor Raju has been leading an Indian Pentecostal Church in Bilkondi village for the past 12 years. He reports that the Bajrang Dal activists falsely accused him of engaging in illegal religious conversions as a justification for the March 1 attack.
“I have never forced anybody to convert or change their religion,” Pastor Raju told ICC. “If people come to me with needs, I pray for them. Sometimes they are healed and they want to attend church.”
As a result of the attack, six Christians, including a blind man, were injured. Three of these Christians required hospitalization and were taken to a private hospital in Gokak town. The Bajrang Dal activists also damaged musical instruments, electrical equipment, a refrigerator, and a sofa.
The Christians filed a formal complaint with local police, however, no action has reportedly been initiative by police officers. In fact, the mob that attacked the birthday party went on to attack a second Christian gathering and beat up the pastor of an Assemblies of God Church.
“This was a cruel attack on Christians,” a local Christian told ICC. “There is complete lawlessness and the attackers are emboldened by the pro-Hindu government in the state. There is no protection for Christians and we are frightened to even celebrate a birthday with friends.”
The Karnataka state government is currently led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Recently, BJP leaders announced their intention to enact an anti-conversion law in Karnataka. Local Christians fear the enactment of this controversial law will only further embolden religious fanatics and lead to more attacks on Christians.
മകൻ ദോഷമുണ്ടാക്കുമെന്ന് ജോത്സ്യൻ; അഞ്ചുവയസ്സുകാരനെ പിതാവ് തീകൊളുത്തി കൊന്നു
ചെന്നൈ:മകൻ കാരണം ദോഷമുണ്ടാകുമെന്ന ജോത്സ്യന്റെ വാക്കുകേട്ട് തഞ്ചാവൂരിൽ പിതാവ് മണ്ണെണ്ണയൊഴിച്ച് തീകൊളുത്തിയ അഞ്ചുവയസ്സുകാരൻ മരിച്ചു. തഞ്ചാവൂർ ജില്ലയിലെ തിരുവാരൂർ നന്നിലം സ്വദേശി രാംകി (29)യുടെ മകൻ സായ് ശരണാണ് മരിച്ചത്. സംഭവത്തിൽ ഓട്ടോ ഡ്രൈവറായ രാംകിയെ പോലീസ് അറസ്റ്റുചെയ്തു.
ആറുവർഷംമുമ്പ് വിവാഹിതനായ ഇയാൾക്ക് രണ്ട് ആൺമക്കളാണ്. ജ്യോതിഷത്തിൽ വിശ്വസിച്ചിരുന്ന രാംകി പതിവായി ജോത്സ്യരെ കണ്ടിരുന്നു. മൂത്തമകനായ സായ് ശരണിനാൽ രാംകിക്ക് ദോഷമുണ്ടായേക്കുമെന്ന് കഴിഞ്ഞയിടെ ഒരു ജോത്സ്യൻ ഗണിച്ചുപറഞ്ഞതായാണ് വിവരം. ഇതേത്തുടർന്ന് പലപ്പോഴായി രാംകി മകനെ ഉപദ്രവിച്ചിരുന്നു. അതേച്ചൊല്ലി ഭാര്യ ഗായത്രിക്കും രാംകിക്കുമിടയിൽ കലഹം പതിവായിരുന്നു. അഞ്ചുദിവസംമുമ്പ് വീണ്ടും വഴക്കുണ്ടായപ്പോൾ രാംകി വീട്ടിലുണ്ടായിരുന്ന മണ്ണെണ്ണയെടുത്ത് മകന്റെ ദേഹത്തൊഴിച്ച് തീകൊളുത്തുകയായിരുന്നു.
ഗുരുതരമായി പൊള്ളലേറ്റ സായ് ശരണിനെ ഗായത്രിയും അയൽക്കാരും ചേർന്ന് തഞ്ചാവൂർ ഗവ. മെഡിക്കൽ കോളേജ് ആശുപത്രിയിൽ പ്രവേശിപ്പിച്ചെങ്കിലും 90 ശതമാനം പൊള്ളലേറ്റ കുട്ടി തീവ്രപരിചരണവിഭാഗത്തിൽ ചികിത്സയിലിരിക്കെ മരിച്ചു. അറസ്റ്റിലായ രാംകിയെ ജുഡീഷ്യൽ കസ്റ്റഡിയിൽ മന്നാർഗുഡി ജയിലിലടച്ചു.
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