A mob of 50 people attacked a group of at least 100 Christians in India, Premier Christian News reports.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a human rights organization for persecuted Christians across the globe, reported that around 100 Christians were attacked in the tribal community in Singawaram village, Sukma District, in the early hours of November 25th. The believers had been organizing festivities for Advent the night before.
The Christians were also preparing to celebrate a traditional ceremony marking the birth of a child, who is now six months old.
While the exact circumstances leading up to the attack were not verified, CSW sources report that the mob, armed with homemade weapons attacked the Christians as they slept. Additionally, the mob allegedly burnt Bibles and damaged motorcycles belonging to the Christians.
They also accused Christians of destroying the local culture by introducing foreign religions. The attack is believed to have taken place between midnight and 2 am. Police did not arrive at the scene until about 7 am.
According to the Chhattisgarh Christian Forum (CCF) around 27 people were injured. Police conducted an investigation following the attack and 16 suspects were arrested.
On Nov. 26, CCF’s president Arun Pannalal, was escorted by police to the police station after CCF reported the incident.
“I was made to sit there for about five hours. It was at about 10:30 pm where they forced me to write an apology on Facebook saying that our description of the incident was false,” he noted. “They said that my actions would bring a bad reputation to the state government and that my post as the CCF President will bring about communal disharmony.”
Police also threatened Pannalal with a possible charge “under non-bailable section of the Criminal Procedure code and put me away” should he refuse to listen. He was also told not to report “such incidents in the future.”
“We’ve noticed that there is a pattern in the non-responsiveness of the state government and the police to these attacks,” he continued. “I am only highlighting violations against the people based on verified information.”
CCF reports that there are approximately 15 families in Singawaram village who embraced Christianity in 2008. No religiously motivated incidents, however, have since taken place.
“It is striking that on 26 November, as India celebrated the constitution that protects the right to freedom of religion or belief, these protections were being utterly disregarded by both state and non-state actors, who carried out this unprovoked attack on this Christian community,” CSW founder and President Mervyn Thomas said. “The police’s attempt to muzzle those speaking out against human rights violations is deplorable.”
“We call on the state government of Chhattisgarh to afford individuals belonging to the Scheduled Tribe equal and necessary protection under the law, and to take measures to shield them from anti-social hostilities and violence resulting from religious fundamentalism,” he contended.
According to Open Doors USA, India is currently placed at number 10 on its list of countries where it is most difficult for Christians to live.
Hindu nationalists often attack Christians for their faith, asserting that to be truly Indian is to be Hindu. Additionally, Hindus converting to Christianity are often harshly persecuted by their own family members and communities.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Kathy Kafka
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.