A mob of extremists shouting ‘stop forceful conversion’ and other slogans attacked a Church in Bazidpur in the State of Bihar yesterday (19 March) as their regular Sunday worship service drew to a close.
The attack on Mahanaim Church which has 150 members took place at 3pm as a mob barged through the main gate of the Church.
“Sensing trouble we locked the church door from the inside and started to frantically call the local police, said Pastor Christopher Bhonsle who has ministered in the church for the last 10 years..
There were about 20 Christians inside the Church along with the Pastor at the time of the attack. The Hindu extremists belonged to the Bajrang Dal (an extremist Hindu organisation that forms the youth wing of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) family of organisations) demanded that the congregation open the church door. They claimed that ‘conversion activity’ was taking place inside the church.
“We opened the gates of the Church only after the police arrived but we were very disappointed as the police heard the attackers first and were biased
towards them,” said Bhonsle.
The police heard the story of the extremists and then recorded the names, addresses and contact numbers of all the Christians present. The police, according to Bhonsle were in favour of the extremists and “did whatever the Hindu extremists asked them to do”.
There were pictures and video recordings made by Christians as a proof of the threats given by the Hindu mob, wherein they are clearly heard saying, “we will not allow this foreign religion in our country and if you continue doing this, we will kill you.”
The police entered inside Bhonsle’s private house and started to search his house without any ‘search warrant’.
“They searched every nook-and-cranny of my house, expecting to find some foreign currency. They devastated my house completely, not leaving even a flower vase unturned,” said Pastor Bhonsle.
“The search went-on for an hour and when the police could not find anything, they started to scold me for conducting Church. The members of Bajarang Dal were videotaping the entire operation,” he added.
After they had left, the police returned to Bhonsle’s home around 8pm and allegedly told Bhonsle that they purposefully ‘scolded’ him in the presence of the Hindu mob to appease the extremists.
He said there is fear all over the Begusarai district amongst the Christian community. He declared: “We know that the police would side the Hindu extremists and we have no say in whatever happens in the future.”