By Santosh Digal, BosNewsLife Asia Correspondent reporting from India
BHUBANESWAR, INDIA (BosNewsLife)– A Hindu extremist attacked the home of a frail protestant pastor who survived previous attacks by Hindu militants in India’s eastern Orissa state, where at least two church leaders were killed last year, his wife and missionaries told BosNewsLife Thursday, January 26.
Pastor Pabita Mohan Kota’s home in Adigar village in the state’s volatile Kandhamal district was attacked Wednesday, January 25, by a man of the same village identified as Jaleshwar Pradhan.
The man was “in an inebriated state due to consumption of liquor and came shouting towards our house…He pushed my daughters, shouting “You Christians must not live here. It is not your permanent owned or legal land,” recalled the pastor’s wife, whose name was not identified amid security concerns.
The home is under construction after it was destroyed in what locals called the area’s “Kandhamal pogrom” in 2008, when at least scores of Christians were killed by Hindu violence and tens of thousands uprooted from their homes.
“Your house was broken, and this time all of you will be buried here,” the man allegedly shouted to the family, which is now living in a nearby hut. The Hindu was seen throwing bricks of the destroyed home and those being brought to rebuild the house.
Local police said they have launched a criminal investigation against the suspect. BosNewsLife was not immediately able to reach the Hindu man for comment.
The incident added to concerns over the pastor’s health, said missionary K J Markose of the Catholic Montfort Missionaries group working in the area. “His eye sight and hearing ability are partially lost due to the physical torture he got repeatedly from the hands of Hindu fanatics during 2008 Kandhamal pogrom…” the
missionary told BosNewsLife.
“Though damage to the house is not much, the mental torture, tension and fear is much and irreparable,” adding that the pastor is also defending himself against “false claims” by Hindu militants in an ongoing trial.
Wednesday’s attack follows several other recent incidents, including the “murders of two pastors and burning down of tribal Christian’s house on Christmas night,” Markose explained.
”In the backdrop of past incidents in Kandhamal, this incident can not be taken slightly,” he said. “It is due to the hate campaign by the fundamentalists that this kind of incidents recurrently happens in Kandhamal.” There has been international pressure from the European Union and other countries on authorities to improve the protection of minority Christians in Orissa state and other regions of India, a heavily Hindu nation.