The mob stormed into the house of Pastor Kawalsingh Paraste and damaged “articles of worship and household items, and tore scriptures”
A mob of about 100 people attacked a 25-year-old Christian pastor and his family on Sunday in India’s Chhattisgarh’s Kabirdham district.
Local news reports quoted police officials saying that the mob stormed into the house of Pastor Kawalsingh Paraste and damaged “articles of worship and household items, and tore scriptures.”
Mohit Garg, superintendent of Kabirdham police, said the pastor and his family, including women, were “manhandled.”
The attackers were reportedly shouting slogans calling for an end to religious conversion.
Arun Pannalal, president of Chhattisgarh’s Christian Forum, said the incident was one of many in a new “dangerous trend, which has become prevalent in the state.”
He told rights group International Christian Concern that 10 such attacks happened in the past 15 days across the state.
Pannalal said authorities, however, did not take action against the attackers.
“We just want justice,” he said, adding that the incidents “indicates that the government has been favouring those who are involved in vandalism.”
Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, said the assault took place in the village of Polmi, a rural area in the district of Kabirdham.
“India is a secular nation, but the Indians, especially in Chattisgarh, suffer violations of religious freedom,” said George.
The Religious Liberty Commission of the Evangelical Fellowship of India has reported in July 145 incidents of violence targeting India’s Christian community in just the first half of 2021.
Titled “Hate and Targeted Violence Against Christians in India: Half Yearly Report 2021,” the report claims that most incidents were perpetrated by non-state actors “operating in an environment of targeted hate.”
The state of Madhya Pradesh reported the most cases with 30 documented cases of violence while Uttar Pradesh came second with 22 documented cases.
Radical nationalists have repeatedly accused Christians of forcefully converting individuals to Christianity to justify harassment and assault.
Rights groups claimed that to date, no individual has been convicted of forced conversions in India despite the fact that some of the anti-conversion laws have been in force since 1967.