By BosNewsLife Asia Service
NEW DELHI, INDIA (BosNewsLife)– Persecution of minority Christians in India is escalating ahead of Christmas with attacks reported in several areas including in southern regions and the capital New Delhi.
In one of the latest known incidents Saturday, December 13, evangelical Christians were attacked and beaten by Hindu militants for singing Christmas carols in India’s southern city of Hyderabad, seriously injuring a pastor and four others, rights activists told BosNewsLife.
The violence occurred while Pastor Bhim Nayak of Banjara Baptist Church and fifteen church members sang Christmas carols and visited Christian families in the city’s Singareny Colony. Local Christians said some thirty “Hindu radicals” attacked the Christians and a vehicle they had hired for the evening festivities.
The Hindu mob was seen surrounding the vehicle, with several shouting that believers were trying to “forcefully convert people to Christianity” by singing Christmas carols.
Angry Hindus soon smashed the vehicle’s windows and dragged the Christians out into the street where they were beaten severely, witnesses said.
PASTOR, FAMILY INJURED
Pastor Nayak and four others, including his wife and son, were reportedly severely injured after being hit by sticks and clubs.
The pastor, who was said to be the focal point of the radicals’ rage, collapsed, unconscious, covered in blood, Christians said. Nayak was reportedly rushed to a local clinic where he received first aid and was transferred to a Hyderabad hospital where he, his wife and son receive intensive care.
It was no isolated incident, with massive Hindu-led “reconversion campaigns” taking place all across the northern India and reports of forced conversions and violence against Christians, according to advocacy group International Christian Concern (ICC), which supports the pastor.
Violence has also been reported in New Delhi where Christians have demanded justice after a church was torched earlier this month.
Though no one was inside the targeted St. Sebastian’s Church in the capital’s Dilshad Garden area, regional Archbishop Anil Couto said the entire interior was “reduced to ashes”.
The December 1 attack prompted Christians to demonstrate near police headquarters.
In published renarks, the president of aid and advocacy group Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), Sajan K George, warned that “the holy season of Advent is always targeted by anti-social elements.”
He said, “They want to breed suspicion, discord and disharmony between religious communities”.
Yet in an unprecedented move, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi apologized for a parliamentarian’s insulting comments comments towards non-Hindu minorities, including Christians, saying that they were unacceptable.
He said however that Niranjan Jyoti has apologised for her remarks and that “she is a first-time member
and comes from a rural background”.
The opposition reportedly demanded a resolution to condemn her “revolting” remarks. Prime Minister Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP party enjoys a comfortable majority, after winning the May 2014 election.
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