A pastor and 20 church members were attacked by around 15 masked
men during a Sunday church service at the weekend (2 October 2016).
The attacks on Pastor Sukhram Poniya Machar and his congregation took place in the village of Hend-modi, district Banswara, Rajasthan in India.
The pastor was seriously injured along with ten other church members in the assault that took place during the healing prayer that was going on at the end of the regular service.
“There were thankfully only 20 of us inside the Church praying while the others were outside having tea,” said Pastor Sukhram Poniya Machar describing his ordeal to Global Christian News Around 15 masked men suspected to be Hindu extremists “whose faces were completely covered except their eyes”, came in a four-wheeler and three motor bikes.
They were carrying swords and wooden sticks, and “we were completely unprepared, with our eyes closed and praying, when we were hit by wooden sticks on our back,” said Machar.
There were 15 women and five men inside the Church when the assault took place.
“Eleven of us were injured while the others fled in panic. Two men and three women were seriously injured amongst the eleven,” added Machar.
Machar sustained a fracture in his right hand besides the several lashes on his back. “My back is inflamed with the lashes,” said Machar “But I do not want to focus on my hurt, as it is an honor for me to bear it in the name of my Lord Jesus”.
Another Christian with a gruesome injury is Sardar Vicha Nisarta who received a broken collar bone in the attack and has to undergo surgery immediately.
“He is in much pain and unable to eat anything. We have not admitted him yet, as we do not have money for his surgery,” said an emotional Machar.
Apart from this, Sardar has several lashes on his back. Sardar’s son, who is a minor and was with him during the assault was also beaten.
Three women have sustained severe injuries. One of the women was pregnant; another was hit by a sword on her hand. All the women were lashed with wooden sticks.
The pastor along with the other church members managed to escape the attack and and hid themselves in nearby fields. “We hid for about half an hour, while the assailants were damaging our Church inside,” said Machar.
The attackers broke all the musical instruments kept inside the Church, threw a Bible on the floor and broke the dais. They damaged seven vehicles parked outside the Church, which belonged to the Church members.
Police are investigating and have identified one of the attackers but have been unable to apprehend him.
Machar who is born and brought up in this village and has been ministering there since 2004 said that nothing like this had ever happened in their village before. “We have lived in harmony all these years,” said Machar.
Machar has four children – the eldest girl fourteen-years-old, an eight-year-old boy, a girl who is six followed by a three-year-old baby boy.
Out of the 2400 adult inhabitants of the village 30-35 families have converted from Hindu faith and have become Christian.
“The Lord has used me to spread the gospel in this area. I have done more than 200 baptisms in my life time and run five prayer fellowships in nearby areas every week,” concluded Machar while requesting for prayers.