South Asia

Brutal attack on Pastor; Bibles and Christian literature burnt

Heap of ashes after the burning outside the Church

In a horrifying incident Near Kondlahally, Molakalmuru Taluk, district Chitradurga, Karnataka, a Pastor only identified as Basavraj, who pastors Atma Prayer church in a rented hall, was severely assaulted by a mob belonging to the Hindu Jagran (Hindu fundamentalists) on the Indian Republic Day (26 January 2017).

Basavraj was celebrating his daughter Tejashree’s birthday and had invited about 100 Church members and guests for a prayer meeting organised in the Church hall. While the celebration was still on, around 50 fundamentalists barged into the prayer hall carrying petrol and kerosene bombs with them. They dragged Basavraj outside the Church and started to hit him with fists, legs, hands and footwear.

When the extremists began to manhandle the guests, they fled for their lives. The mob chanting, ‘Hail god Ram….’ entered the Church and broke the equipment inside. Breaking the amplifier, sound system, drums, etc, they made a heap inside and outside the Church and set it ablaze.

Heap of ashes after the burning outside the Church

They also burnt all the bibles, literature and other Christian materials placed inside the Church. Some of the guests were also assaulted before all of them fled for their lives.

“The eye witnesses later reported that Basavraj was beaten so ruthlessly that they thought he would die,” said Pastor Solomon Raj  to Global Christian News. Basavraj sustained several internal injuries on his head, chest, arms.

“He was unable to move his hands and had fever even after 10 days of the incident,” added Solomon.

Basavraj was forcefully taken to a Hindu temple, where the Hindu extremists performed Hindu rituals and applied vermilion (sindoor: red or orange coloured cosmetic powder used by married Hindu women and for Hindu rituals) on Basavraj’s face.

“Basavraj’s elder sister reached the temple and somehow brought him home; after changing they straight went to the police station and reported the matter to the police station in-charge,” revealed Solomon.

A press-conference was held two days after the incident on 28 January. Solomon said, “The Deputy Inspector General of Police assured us that this incident would be taken seriously and strict action would be taken against the hooligans.”

The police arrested 12, according to reports. All of them have been release on bail.

Pastor Solomon said that a group of Christians visiting from Tamil Nadu were attacked on the Republic day last year (26 January 2016) as well. He said, “It seems that they are trying to form a precedent of attacking Christian on Republic Day.”

Basavraj is a resident of Thungurahalli village, which is 11 km from where the incident took place.