Hindu fundamentalists attacked a Christian missionary compound in India,
severely injuring several people.
Sunday’s attack was the second within a month at the Gospel Echoing
Missionary Society facility in Rohtas district, Bihar state, reported
Compass Direct, a news service that monitors persecution of Christians.
In the previous attack, Aug. 31, a mob of about 800 held the compound
under siege for three days, injuring 12 Christian residents.
On Sunday, one man received a spinal injury that left him partially
paralyzed, Compass reported.
A mission representative said about 16 attackers came from the nearby
villages of Shankarpur and Bhedibigha at 6:30 p.m. and broke open the gate
of the compound.
“They pulled out some of the GEMS staff [from the compound] and brutally
beat them,” the representative said. “They also robbed them of their
belongings before throwing them into the fields.”
According to Compass, the mob hit a Christian doctor, Ambrose
Christopher, around the head and hands, breaking one of his fingers.
The attackers took another man, Stephen Shankar, to nearby Bhedibigha
village and brutally beat him before throwing him into a field, the news
service said. Another man was left with a serious nosebleed after being
punched in the face.
The most severe injuries, however, were sustained by Kirupakaran Shankar,
who recently was married. The assailants injured his spinal cord, resulting
in the loss of movement in one leg, Compass reported.
The Gospel Echoing Missionary Society is the largest indigenous Christian
missionary agency in Bihar, with about 100 families, including 900 children,
living in the compound, which has a school, student hostel, orphanage,
hospital and other social service facilities.
Open Doors USA, the American branch of the international mission started
by “God’s Smuggler” Brother Andrew, sees the attacks as part of a larger
“Several attacks this month alone seem to signal a new wave of
persecution of Christians in India,” said the group’s president, Carl
Moeller. “We need to keep believers in India in our prayers and in our
Open Doors notes other persecution-related news from India:
- Christians in Chattisgarh, India, organized a five-day rally two
- On Sept.22, Hindu fundamentalists attacked and threatened several
Christians in the Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh state, accusing them of
desecrating a Hindu idol. One Christian was admitted to a hospital with
serious injuries, while another was detained at the Kalyanpura police
station for more than 32 hours.
The radical Vishwa Hindu Parishad, or World Hindu Council, has called
for a comprehensive law to ban religious conversions in India as part of a
new campaign to stem the “increasing” number of conversions around the
country. Addressing media Aug. 25, Mohan Joshi, national secretary of the
council, said anti-conversion laws in some states were not stringent enough
to curb religious conversions, reported Compass.
India, which is 83 percent Hindu and 11 percent Muslim, has 25 million
Christians, who represent 2.4 percent of the population.
weeks ago to protest increased attacks on churches in the state. About 80
Christian leaders attended the rally, coordinated by Arun Pannalal of the
Church of North India, following Sept. 11 violence in Raipur in which Hindu
fundamentalists destroyed property at one church and struck worshipers at
another, according to Compass.