A group of 60 Indian Christians were attacked and beaten by Hindu extremists while they worshipped at a Pentecostal church on Sunday.
The Christian Post reports that a mob of 25 Hindu radicals attacked a Pentecostal church in Kachana colony, beating the Christians who were there worshiping, stripping the women naked, and destroying property such as Bibles.
The attack comes only a week after the Indian government denied visas to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
The USCIRF had planned to discuss the conditions of religious freedom in India on its visit.
Although India claims to be a democracy, persecution against religious minorities such as Christians and Muslims is common. Seven of the church attackers were arrested by police, but activists claim that an “atmosphere of impunity” allows incidents of religiously-motivated violence to go unchecked.
"The vandalizing of the church [in Chhattisgarh] comes as the entire nation of India is debating the role of [radical Hindu nationalism] and the government in exacerbating an environment of hate and intolerance against civil society, the intelligentsia, and, above all, religious minorities such as Muslims and Christians,” stated John Dayal, spokesman for the United Christian Forum.
Robert P. George, chairman of USCIRF, expressed his disappointment that India denied USCIRF visas.
"USCIRF has been able to travel to many countries, including those that are among the worst offenders of religious freedom, including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, China, and Burma. One would expect that the Indian government would allow for more transparency than have these nations, and would welcome the opportunity to convey its views directly to USCIRF," he said.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: March 9, 2016