11/13/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – According to Morning Star News, more than 64 Christians in India’s Chhattisgarh state were attacked by a mob of radical Hindu nationalists in October. Survivors report that local police looked on as the radicals abused and beat them.
On October 17, Anil Tandon held a dinner party with other members of The Pentecostal Mission Church in Oteband village, located in the Durg District. The Christians gathered to enjoy a thanksgiving meal for a healing Tandon received.
The party began at 6 p.m. with 90 minutes of worship and prayer, followed by about an hour of dining. According to Tandon, no one from the village had any objection to the gathering.
However, at approximately 8 p.m., members of the Dharma Jagaran Samanvay Vibhag, a local Hindu extremist group, arrived on the scene led by Jyoti Sharma. According to Morning Star News, Dharma Jagaran Samanvay Vibhag is an affiliate of the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh group.
“I tried to explain to them that it is a thanksgiving meeting, and that all the attendees are members of the TPM church, but they would not deter,” Tandon told Morning Star News. “They continued to harass and started manhandling me and other Christian members.”
The radicals searched the belongings of the Christians, harassing many and physically assaulting others. Videos on social media show the mob forcing the Christians to line up as they searched their belongings and cloths, including women’s undergarments.
“Some men from the mob took me inside the house where one person slapped me three or four times,” Tandon told Morning Star News. “Then they brought me outside and assaulted me there too. While we were taken before the village panchayat, I was beaten there too.”
Police arrived on the scene, but only stood by and observed the harassment and assaults. After several hours, the police put the Christians on a bus and took them to the Nandini Police Station. There a complaint was filed against Tandon and others for allegedly “injuring or defiling a place of worship.”
On October 18, Tandon was taken before the district judge and sent to jail.
Local Christians filed a counter complaint against the mob of radicals, but police have taken little action on this complaint. According to Morning Star News, the police deliberately declined to name anyone in the complaint even though officers were witnesses to the assaults.
Across India attacks on Christians and their places of worship are being reported in greater number and severity. According to a report released by the United Christian Forum, over 300 incidents of Christian persecution have been documented in India in just the first nine month of 2021.