Radicals Use Extreme Violence to Make Village “Christian-Free”
11/08/2021 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that a Christian community in India’s Chhattisgarh state was brutally attacked by a mob of radical Hindu nationalists over the weekend. The attack left nine Christians seriously injured, including three who are currently hospitalized in critical condition.
On Saturday, November 6, a mob of 50 radical Hindu nationalists attacked 14 Christian homes in Metapal village, located in the Dantewada district. Local Christians report that the mob was led by four men named Joga, Lakhma, Magda, and Sukka. The mob went from house to house, attacking Christians to make Metapal a “Christian-free” village.
Wielding fists, wooden clubs, and other objects, the extremists beat the Christians of Metapal, including women and children. The attack left nine Christians seriously injured with broken bones, dislocated joints, and head injuries.
“Santu, a teenage boy, was carried by four people to the hospital like a dead body,” Pastor Susheel Kumar, a survivor of the attack, told ICC. “He suffered multiple fractures to his legs and hand.”
Following the attack, Mogadi Madkami, Santu Madkami, and Hidma Podiyami were taken to Dantewada District Hospital where they remain in critical condition. Police have registered a First Information Report (FIR no. 22/2021) against 15 members of the mob; however, no arrests have been made to date.
“There has been intense opposition in the village against people practicing Christianity,” Pastor Kumar explained. “These Christians have been threatened a number of times in the past. Last year, three families fled the village after they were attacked by the right-wing groups. They have never returned to the village.”
“This is not an isolated incident,” another Christian leader, who requested anonymity, told ICC. “Christians across the state are facing intense pressure from the religious militant groups. Christians are not free to exercise their faith on par with Hindus. We want the government to treat us fairly and without bias.”
Across India, attacks on Christians and their places of worship are being reported in greater number and severity. Recently, a report authored by the United Christian Forum documented over 300 attacks on Christians taking place in just the first nine months of 2021. Without significant intervention by government authorities, it is likely that 2021 will be the worst year on record for Christian persecution in India.
William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager for South Asia, said, “We here at International Christian Concern are very concerned by the attack on the Christian community of Metapal. Violent attempts to make communities ‘Christian-free’ must be stopped and punished if religious freedom is to mean anything in India. Unfortunately, this attack is merely a symptom of a larger problem in India. Religious intolerance and religiously motivated violence have become so normalized in India that we are hearing reports of multiple incidents every week. Strict action must be taken against the perpetrators of this attack and stern statements must be made by India’s leaders to dispel the notion that a community could or should be cleansed of a particular religious community.”