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Pastor V.P. Paulouse after attack by Hindu radicals (Courtesy VOM)
Fifteen members of a radical Hindu group raided a church service in India, beating the pastor, his wife and daughters and other congregants.
The mob – belonging to the Bajrang Dal, the youth wing of the World Hindu Council – used cricket bats in the April 16 assault and vandalized the meeting hall’s furniture and equipment, valued at $3,500, reported the U.S. persecution monitor Voice of the Martyrs.
The 65-year-old pastor, V.P. Paulouse, suffered numerous injuries and was admitted to the Mangala Hospital in Mangalore, where VOM provided for his medical expenses.
Paulouse’s injuries included a gash on his forehead requiring stitches and extensive damage to his toes.
The attackers, who entered the prayer hall with their faces covered, specifically targeted the pastor’s family members, who sustained wounds from the violent rampage, VOM said.
The Bajrang Dal organized the attack because it did not want Christians in their area conducting prayer meetings, according to VOM.
Paulouse’s ministry covers three villages in south Karnataka state, where he leads about 60 Christians.
In September, Hindu fundamentalists attacked a Christian missionary compound in India’s Bihar state, severely injuring several people.
The attack was the second within a month at the Gospel Echoing Missionary Society facility in Rohtas district.
In the previous attack, Aug. 31, a mob of about 800 held the compound under siege for three days, injuring 12 Christian residents.
The radical World Hindu Council, or Vishwa Hindu Parishad, 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 last August, Mohan Joshi, national secretary of the council, said anti-conversion laws in some states were not stringent enough to curb religious conversions.
India, which is 83 percent Hindu and 11 percent Muslim, has 25 million Christians, who represent 2.4 percent of the population.