08/12/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – On July 28, a pastor and his wife were brutally assaulted by a mob of radical Hindu nationalists wielding an iron chain and wooden clubs. The attack took place in India’s Karnataka state and left the pastor unconscious and rushed to the hospital for emergency treatment.
Pastor Shalem Maniraj and his wife traveled to Doddahassala village to pray for a sick church member on July 28. When the couple arrived at the church member’s house, it was surrounded by a mob of 20 radical Hindu nationalists. The radicals abused the couple with foul language and accused them of converting people to the Christian faith.
Sensing danger, Pastor Maniraj and his wife decided to immediately leave the village. As they were walking out of the village, the mob attacked them. They beat Pastor Maniraj with an iron chain and wooden clubs until he was left unconscious. The mob also beat Pastor Maniraj’s wife as she attempted to defend her husband.
As the attack continued, a person passing by stopped his vehicle and rescued Pastor Maniraj and his wife. This person took the couple to the nearby hospital for emergency treatment.
“I was so scared when my husband fell to the ground and there was no one to help,” Pastor Maniraj’s wife told International Christian Concern (ICC). “I tried to get help from people who were passing by, but many refused. Praise the Lord that one person came forward and took my husband to the hospital.”
Age 52, Pastor Maniraj is the head pastor at Bethel Miracle Church in Gangathra, approximately 10 miles from Doddahassala. Speaking with ICC, Pastor Maniraj reports he has decided not to file a police complaint against those who attacked him because he wants to forgive them as Christ has forgiven.
Over the past year, ICC has documented an increase in attacks on Christians in India’s Karnataka state. This increase in violence followed the state government’s announcement that it intended to enact an anti-conversion law in Karnataka. If enacted, this law will likely increase the persecution of Christians in the state as has been seen in other states following the enactment of an anti-conversion law.