01/29/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – According to Morning Star News, a Christian worship service was brutally attacked by Hindu extremists earlier this month in India’s Uttar Pradesh state. As a result of the attack, several Christians were severely injured and others were falsely accused under the state’s new anti-conversion law.
On January 3, a mob of 15 to 20 Hindu extremists attacked Christians gathered for worship at Heavenly Gospel Mission Church in the Shahjahanpur District. The extremists beat the Christians, including women and children, with wooden batons, church chairs, and other objects they found at hand.
“They literally dragged five of us [including the Hindu owner of the hall] from inside the hall to the road outside; the beating only intensified there,” Pastor H.S. David told Morning Star News. “They forced us to be in the Murga position and then kept on beating us with sticks and their legs.”
While beating the Christians, the extremists demanded their victims curse the name of Jesus.
“We were already so much in pain, and the assaulters would just not relent,” Pastor David told Morning Star News. “After the physical torture did not come to an end, we decided to do what they were forcing us to do – we cursed Lord Jesus Christ.”
As the men were being attacked, other extremists did not spare the church’s women and children.
“My mother and I, along with my five younger sisters, were inside the church when the attack took place,” Neha told Morning Star News. “All my sisters were beaten including my youngest. My mother was also beaten when she tried to questions the attackers. They showed no mercy. They hit men, women and children alike.”
After the attack, the extremists took the four Christians and Hindu landlord to the local police station. The extremists then falsely accused the Christians of violating the state’s new anti-conversion law. According to this new law, forced religious conversion, including conversions in exchange for money, are criminalized.
“We are poor people and live in a poor colony – how can we allure anyone with money or material to convert?” Pastor David asked Morning Star News. “We are dependent on God for our daily sustenance. But they have cooked up charges against us.”
Hindu extremists often abuse anti-conversion laws enacted in India. These extremists used false allegations of forced religious conversions to harass Christian leaders and justify physical assaults on Christian communities.