South Asia

Pastor sustains head injury in Rajasthan attack

A mob of Hindu extremists in Dabli Rathan, in the Indian state of Rajasthan attacked a Christian meeting this week (16 August) and brutally assaulted the Pastor and the other Christians present.
Two Christians including the guest speaker sustained head injury and the later sustained a leg fracture besides external and internal injuries. The extremists fled as the pastor lay in a pool of his own blood, dangerously close to death.

Pastor Harjot Sethi

“About 50 Hindu extremists belonging to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bajrang Dal [two militant Hindu groups] attacked our prayer meeting and viciously assaulted us with wooden sticks, hands and fists,” said Pastor Harjot Sethi from his hospital bedside in an interview with Global Christian News.
“They blamed us for alluring people with Rupees 50,000 each and converting them to Christianity. They ordered me to bow down before them and beg for forgiveness for doing such a crime. I politely refuted them by telling them that we have never allured people and forced them to believe in Christ. That very moment they started to beat me. They said to each other that I was the main speaker of the event and instantaneously 30-35 people pounced at me and started to hit me.
“The rest were busy hitting every Christian they encountered in the meeting, men or women alike,” said Sethi.
There were about 150 people present for the Christian meeting in one of the homes of a member, where Sethi had started a Church fellowship under the name of Christ Power Ministry eight months ago as an outreach of his own Church, which is in Jalandhar in the state of Punjab.
This was Sethi’s third large-scale meeting in the same premises. “We had no problems in the last two meetings that we organised and I travelled from Jalandhar to conduct the same at this place in Dabli Rathan,” added Sethi.
“While they were hitting me with wooden sticks, hands and fists, someone hit me on my head hard with a sharp object and blood started to drip from my head, down my neck and I fell down.
“On seeing the blood gushing out, the Hindu extremists got frightened and fled leaving me in the pool of my own blood to die,” said Sethi
Some Hindu extremists from the mob also attacked Sethi’s wife and beat her with wooden sticks. A number of the women at the meeting attempted to rescue her and were also beaten.
“After the sudden attack, there was chaos amongst the congregation and Christians fled for their lives. The Hindu extremists blindly beat everyone, as they tried to escape

and many of them sustained injuries.

Rithik Arora

Rithik Arora a 24-year-old assistant of Pastor Sethi sustained injuries on his face and his head, informed Sethi.
In a video clip, that was circulated on social media by Sethi himself, showed him bleeding and his shirt soaked in his blood as he spoke about the attack in the video.
Sethi was given stiches for the injury on his head and a cast was put on his right leg for his fractured leg.
Sethi’s wife on seeing him injured, ran on foot to the police station that was very close to the place where this incident took place and called the police for help.
The police arrived and took Sethi and Arora to the police station and to their shock they saw their assaulters sitting inside the police station. A complaint was already filed by them against Sethi and his team of ‘forceful conversion’.
“It was there, that they introduced themselves of being from the RSS and the Bajrang Dal,” said Sethi.
Sethi told Global Christian News that the attack was pre-planned, “If the Hindu extremists had prior information about the meeting, they should have informed the police, who could have ordered us to stop the meeting and we would have obeyed. But these people attacked us brutally and almost killed us. They were sitting in the police station in front of us and police watched me bleeding profusely but did not arrest my attackers but interrogated me instead.
After  Pastor Sethi’s video appeared on social media, a team of pastors travelled from different districts of Rajasthan to the police station. They asked the police the whereabouts of the incident, said Pastor Vijay Hans of Alpha Bible Church in Hanumangarh about 15 kilometers from Dabli Rathan. Hans said that eight of the assailants had been arrested.