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Ambush by 'radicals' leaves pastor in hospital

Pastor Bhadikar Barshi after beating by Hindu radicals

A Christian pastor in India is being treated for injuries following an ambush into which he was lured by several Hindu youths, according to officials with The Voice of the Martyrs, the Christian aid organization that reaches out to persecuted Christians worldwide.

The report said Pastor Bhadikar Barshi was on his way to a regular service at his home in the Barshi region of Maharashta state when two youths approached him recently.

“Asking him to join them in a prayer for a friend who had been suffering from a sickness over the past 15 years, the young men walked alongside the pastor for some time,” the report said.

Then, a Hindu mob launched the ambush.

The attackers used wooden clubs to beat the pastor, 48, all over his body, including his head where he suffered a severe gash on his right eye, officials reported.

“His chest and back sustained most of his injuries,” VOM said. He was hospitalized for treatment, as well as stitches to close a cut on the left side of his forehead.

VOMedical covered the expenses for his eight-day hospitalization, officials said.

Local sources told VOM that the minister was targeted by the violent Hindu faction because of his missionary work. Police reports said officers were looking into the “radical” group whose members attacked Pastor Bhadikar in the region where there is a high level of Hindu opposition to any teaching of the Christian faith.

However, VOM said the pastor “remains faithful in continuing his ministry.”

The non-profit, interdenominational ministry works worldwide to help Christians who are persecuted for their faith, and to educate the world about that persecution. Its headquarters are in Bartlesville, Okla., and it has 30 affiliated international offices.

It was launched by the late Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, who started smuggling Russian Gospels into Russia in 1947, just months before Richard was abducted and imprisoned in Romania where he was tortured for his refusal to recant Christianity.

He eventually was released in 1964 and the next year he testified about the persecution of Christians before the U.S. Senate’s Internal Security Subcommittee, stripping to the waist to show the deep torture wound scars on his body.

The group that later was renamed The Voice of the Martyrs was organized in 1967, when his book, “Tortured for Christ,” was released.

He was able to return to Romania in 1990, after a Romanian pastor’s prays sparked a rejection by Romanians of the dictatorship of Elena and Nicolae Ceausescu, VOM said. It was at that point that Romanian soldiers, “overcome by the conviction of the people, turned on the secret police” and revolted.

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