South Asia

Hindu extremists attack pastor with sword in Bihar

A Pentecostal pastor was attacked and critically wounded in a sword attack by 15 armed Hindu extremists last week. Sikandar Kumar, 40, a missionary of India Missions, was attacked at his home by extremists carrying swords, gaga (a spiked metal mace) and wooden sticks in the village of Jadhua, Hajipur in the Indian state of Bihar.

Pastor Sikandar Kumar after the attack

“Kumar sustained two deep cuts by the sword on his head and one on his shoulder besides several internal and external injuries,” said Baiju Issac, the Patna Coordinator of India Missions in an interview with Global Christian News.

Pastor Sikandar Kumar’s sword wounds

 

The attack began when a boy came to the pastor’s house and asked him to step outside for a personal talk. Kumar walked out of the church compound and 15 men armed with deadly weapons attacked. Isaac said that one of the men struck Kumar twice with a sword in his head.

“‘Are you still here, we told you to leave and vacate the place. You are carrying out conversion here’, said the attackers to Kumar as they began to attack him.

“As they left, they shouted slogans of, “Jai Shri Ram” (Hail lord Ram) and snatched Sikandar’s mobile phone,” revealed Issac.

The attackers left Kumar, half dead in a pool of his own blood. “Kumar suffered huge blood loss, as the vehicle arrived after more than an hour and we rushed him to a hospital and from there we brought him to the Patna Medical College (Patna is about 20 kilometers from village Jadhua).

“The doctors described his condition as critical,” said Issac.

A few members of Kumar’s Church reported the attack to the local police.  Issac claimed that, “The weapons used for the attack were the ones used in the procession of Ram Navami, the Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of lord Rama.”

“More than two dozen Ram Navami processions which began from various parts of Patna merged together at the Dak Bungalow roundabout where the main event was organised in which CM (Chief Minister) Nitish Kumar was present,” reported India Today on 5 April 2017.

“The Superintendent of Police assured the Christians of proper investigation,” said Issac, though no arrests have yet been made.

Sikandar’s family reported that the calls made to Sikandar’s mobile, are answered by the extremists, pretending to be Sikandar’s close relative. “They are enquiring the whereabout of all those who are calling,” said Issac.

Sikandar’s son received a threatening call from his father’s number. The extremists warned him of dire consequences if they conducted Church services on Sundays.

“They also asked us to flee from the area, if we want to stay alive,” said Kumar.

The IPC church members approached the police for protection for conducting services every Sunday. Worship took place on Palm Sunday after the attack conducted by an India Missions team who arrived after the attack on Pastor Kumar. Police were present at the service.

Pastor Sikandar Kumar, his wife and younger daughter in Baiju Issac’s house

Kumar lives with his wife, a daughter and two sons in the village. He has led the church of 200 for the past three years and has been an evangelist for 11 years.

This was the second attack that Sikandar Kumar has faced this year.

“Some of them were the same Hindu extremists who were present in both the attacks,” revealed Kumar.

The earlier attack took place on 10 February after a marriage ceremony. A mob of 10-12 Hindu extremists, entered the premises of the Church and straight charged towards Kumar and the others and began to assault them.

“They picked up the chairs that were placed there and blindly started to hit us with them,” said Kumar.

“They blamed me of carrying conversion and said that I am pulling people into this faith from different faiths,” added Kumar. Kumar’s wife was injured in the attack but he did not make a police complaint.