Date: August 6, 2018
Harassment and Physical Assaults Becoming the New Normal for India’s Christians
Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has documented at least five anti-Christian incidents in India’s Uttar Pradesh state over the final weeks of July and early days of August. These incidents included the disruption of church services, a physical assault, a false criminal complaint, and the institution of a social boycott against 12 Christian families.
On July 20, a mob of Hindu radicals brutally beat Pastor Surem Samuel and his family. As a result, Pastor Samuel’s 23-year-old son, Abhinav Samuel, was hospitalized for several days.
According to Pastor Samuel, head of the Methodist Church of Bijauli village in the Meerut District of Uttar Pradesh, a mob of Hindu radicals broke into the church at 10:30 a.m. on July 20. “Without a word, they started to beat us with bricks,” Pastor Samuel said. “My wife, my younger son, and myself have sustained injuries, but my older son, Abhinav, collapsed on the ground after hard hits by bricks. Later, he was rushed to the hospital and was treated for three days in an intensive care unit.”
“This is not the first attack in my 10 years of ministry in this place,” Pastor Samuel explained to ICC. “But, this time is the worst. The congregation of my church is worried as church meetings are now conducted with the police guarding us.”
On July 22, Hindu radicals disrupted worship services in two churches in Meerut. Pastor Narendra Jacob, head of Eternal Hope Church, reported, “The worship was disrupted in two separate incidents in Meerut. Worship at Beersheba Church of God and Eternal Hope Church, both in the city of Meerut, were disrupted by a group of Hindu radicals accompanied by police. The Christians attending the churches and the pastors were threatened by the angry mob.”
On August 2, the Saini, a caste group within Hinduism, instituted a social boycott against 12 Christian families in Nagphani village, located in the Moradabad District of Uttar Pradesh. A local Hindu newspaper, Jagaran, featured the story of the Christians being socially ostracized after refusing to recant their Christian faith.
Also on August 2, a false criminal complaint was filed against a Christian in Bulandi village in the Jounpur District of Uttar Pradesh. The complaint was filed against Durga Prasad Yadav, a Christian who leads worship in Bulandi and is constantly harassed.
William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “We here at International Christian Concern are extremely concerned by the continued surge of attacks on Christians in India. Every day, new reports of persecution are documented. Many Christians fear that this may be the new normal for their community as Hindu radicals have been allowed to attack Christians and other minority communities with impunity. India must take steps to counter the growing wave of intolerance and violence. Until then, the attacks will likely continue to increase in both number and severity.”
HOW TO PRAY: Pray for healing for Pastor Samuel's son, Abhinav, who was hospitalized. Pray for protection and restoration for Christians in India, that faith would triumph over fear. Pray for God to send wisdom and methods to prevent attacks and counter the intolerance with His love and grace.