By Santosh Digal, BosNewsLife Asia Correspondent
NEW DELHI, INDIA (BosNewsLife)– Hindu militants in south-eastern India halted a Christian birthday celebration and prayer meeting and attacked an evangelical pastor involved in the festivities saying he was trying to forcibly convert non-Christians to Christianity, one of India’s national Christian organizations said Saturday, January 30.
The All India Christian Council (AICC), an interdenominational national Christian body, said members of the radical Hindu group Hindu Vahini interrupted the celebrations late Friday, January 29, in the village of Jeedimetla in Andhra Pradesh state.
“Fanatics” it said, “disturbed Ramesh’s son” birthday and “abused” the Christian family. No full names were given, amid security concerns. Soon after, some 50 Hindu militants attacked Pastor Satyam who was returning back home from the interrupted birthday celebration, AICC said.
The Hindu mob apparently “abused him” on “false charges” of using “force” and “fraudulent” means to convert people.
“Meanwhile the fanatics called police” and in the presence of a key officer “forced Pastor Satyam to eat the food offered to [Hindu gods] against his will,” said AICC Regional Secretary Madhu Chandra. “Fanatics threatened that when he refused he would be taken to the [local] Petbashirabad police station…He was released” just before midnight, he added.
Pastor Satyam complained that police refused to register his complaint “against the fanatics for unlawful act of intruding into Ramesh’s house and [disturbing] his son’s birthday celebration.”
However, he said, “We will approach higher police authorities if the police officers on duty continue to refuse to take the complaint.” Pastor Satyam is the senior pastor of the nearby Good Shepherd Community Church and an AICC activist involved in defending human rights of Christians and oppressed ‘Dalits’, the ‘lowest caste’ in India’s ancient system of Hinduism.
The Andhra Pradesh branch of AICC said it is supporting the pastor’s legal actions against the Hindu Vahini members. There have been several violent incidents in India involving Hindu radical groups, who oppose the spread of Christianity in this mainly Hindu nation of over one billion people.