07/20/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – According to Asia News, a small house church in India’s Chhattisgarh state was attacked and disrupted by a mob of radical Hindu nationalists. After disrupting the service, radicals used false allegations of forced conversions to have the house church’s pastor arrested.
On July 4, approximately 30 Christians gathered in the home of Pastor Firoz Bagh for prayer in Raipur. As Pastor Bagh was preaching, the home was surrounded by a mob of 35 radical Hindu nationalists shouting anti-Christian slogans and disrupting the worship service.
One of the radicals called police and falsely accused Pastor Bagh of engaging in forced religious conversions, an act criminalized by Chhattisgarh’s anti-conversion law. Pastor Bagh was taken into police custody for several hours and radicals surrounded the police stations threatening to attack the pastor.
“My church is a registered organization and I have preached for 20 years in a rented room,” Pastor Bagh told Asia News. “Just two years ago I bought this house.”
“Many people come here, and our door is open to everyone,” Pastor Bagh continued. “God’s word brings peace, hope and dignity. Now they tell me that I cannot preach even if India is a secular state. My faithful are very frightened, they feel they are being targeted by extremists.”
Across India attacks on Christians and their places of worship are being reported in increased number. In states where anti-conversion laws have been enacted, including Chhattisgarh, radical Hindu nationalists use these laws as legal cover to justify assaults on Christians.