NEW DELHI, November 30, 2014 (Morning Star News) – Hindu extremists in Odisha state on Oct. 25 summoned a Christian family to a public meeting for a “compromise” on religious conflict but instead beat them nearly unconscious, sources said.
Irma Markami and four members of his family received hospital treatment for eight days after the attack, which came 10 days after nearly all the villagers from Gumkaguda, Malkangiri beat them for refusing to renounce Christ.
The Hindu extremists who summoned the Christian family to the “compromise” meeting told them that they were “not to talk and to promise to do whatever they were asked to do.” Soon after the meeting started at noon, with Christian leaders and village officials present, the Hindu extremists attacked Markami, his wife and three sons, said area pastor Vijay Purusu, who attended the meeting.
“In front of our eyes, they mercilessly beat up the Christians – kicking them, they pushed them down to the ground, stomped on them and beat them up with clubs and their hands,” Purusu told Morning Star News.
As they assaulted the family, which belongs to the Calvary Gospel Mission Moment Church, the Hindu villagers shouted that there was no place for Christians in the village and that they were going to wipe them out.
“The attack lasted for about one and a half hours, and by the time they were rushed to the hospital, the Christians were barely conscious,” another area church leader, Narendra Gachha, told Morning Star News.
About 10 area Christian leaders at the meeting managed to escape and ran to the Potteru police station. Officers arrived at the site followed by two ambulances. The five severely injured Christians were rushed to the district hospital.
They sustained injuries on their heads, faces and hands and abrasions and bruises all over their bodies, church leaders said.
The meeting in which the ambush took place had been called after a previous attack drove the Christian family and other relatives out of the village in Odisha, formerly called Orissa state. At about midnight on Oct. 15, a large mob of Hindu extremists beat Markami and his family, told them to renounce Christ and later burned their house when the Christian refused to deny Christ, Gachha said.
“Almost all the villagers, including women, turned up, verbally abused them for their faith in Christ, pushed, kicked, beat them with their hands and clubs, and hurled stones at them and then burned up their house” he said.
That night, Markami, his wife, three sons, their wives and six grandchildren fled the area and took shelter with relatives in another village. Their house, along with household goods, were destroyed, Gaccha said.
Markami and his family began following Christ in 2004. Since then, the extremists have socially boycotted them, threatened to harm them if they do not renounce Christ and beat them occasionally, reported the Evangelical Fellowship of India.
Police registered a First Information Report against the attackers, but at press time no arrests had been made.
“The whole family at present is staying in one small room,” Gaccha said. “It is a difficult time for them, but their faith in Jesus remains still strong.”
In 2008, Gachha also was beaten and chased out from Gumkaguda village as he was conducting a prayer meeting at Markami’s house.
Markami and his family worshipped at their own house in the village, where other residents began to join them.
Photo: Irma Markami and his sons with bloodied and torn clothing. (Morning Star News).