South Asia

Hindu extremists attack Christians; desecrate religious symbols

hindu-extremists-attack-christians-desecrate-religious-symbolsA prayer meeting was attacked and Christians brutally assaulted in village Prayagpur, Varanasi on 23 October 2016 at the home of Santosh Tiwari a Brahmin convert.

Eight Church leaders from the New Life Fellowship Church of the Rajatalaab area in Varanasi were invited by Tiwari to pray in his house when a mob consisting of Brahmins attacked the prayer meeting hitting, looting, desecrating and

chasing away the Church leaders.

Tiwari, a regular member of the New Life Fellowship (NLF) converted to Christianity from his ancestral Brahmin faith three years ago when his brother was facing kidney failure and the doctors had given up on him.

“Someone in the marketplace told Tiwari to take his brother to the NLF Church and ask the Church people to pray upon him,” said Pastor Umesh Chauhan, the Pastor of the NLF Church in an interview with Global Christian News. Tiwari put his brother on an empty hand driven cart (used for selling vegetables) and carried him to the Church on one Sunday.

“I noticed the cart in the Church and after the service spoke to Santosh and called the Church leaders and we all prayed for his brother,” recalled Chauhan. “In the days that followed, Santosh’s brother started to eat, rode his motor bike and started living a normal healthy life. His brother along with Santosh and his family started to attend Church. But soon with the pressure from his family and surroundings, Santosh’s brother stopped coming to Church,” added Chauhan.

Three years later Santosh’s brother once again started to face health issues. And last Sunday (23 Oct) Santosh held a prayer meeting in his house for his brother’s deteriorating health.

“As I had a senior Pastor visiting me, I asked two of my Church leaders to go along with Santosh to pray in his house. Santosh insisted on taking all the Church leaders to his brother’s house,” said Chauhan.

Tiwari’s nephew objected to the meeting and quarrelled with his uncle (Santosh Tiwari) and left the house. He returned with a large group of about 50 Brahmin men carrying wooden sticks. They pounced on these eight Christians and started to beat them with fists, legs and wooden sticks.

The mob snatched their Bibles and tried to set them on fire, but they couldn’t find matches and instead threw the Bibles in a river. Mobile phones belonging to the Christians, were thrown on the ground and were hit with wooden sticks and broken. “One of the Christian was wearing a cross around his neck, which

Rustom with eye injury
Rustom with eye injury

was snatched by a person in the mob, which he threw on the ground and urinated on the cross,” said Chauhan.

Seven Christians managed to escape, leaving their bicycles behind but one of them Anand, 21, was caught by the crowd and severely assaulted. He was dragged to a Hindu temple, where he was hit with wooden sticks on his back and forced to bow before the images of Hindu gods. He also sustained a serious head injury.

Injured Eye of another Christian
Injured Eye of another Christian

The other seven Christians were Kashi Nath, 45; Kamla Prasad, 47; Joy, 20; Rustom, 15; Avadh Narayan Vishkarma, 75; Ram Chandra, 26 and Choote Lal, 27. All of them sustained various severe injuries and traumas during the attacks.

All the Christians were taken to Jyoti Fracture Clinic.

Pastor Chauhan has ministered with the New Life Church for the past 18 years. He has churches in Ajamgarh, Jounpur, Mirjapur, Badoi, Chandoli including Varanasi which has a presence of 600-700 people attending service every Sunday.

No complaint has been made to the police said Chauhan. “Tiwari fears the Brahmin community he lives in and said that if he goes against them and complain to the police, he and his family could be attacked,” he explained.

Chauhan requests for prayers for the healing for the eight Christians physically and emotionally and for the protection of Christian community and for those drawn to the Lord.