International Christian Concern
2020 Pennsylvania Ave. NW #241
Washington, D.C. 20006
www.persecution.org | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
By ICC's India Correspondent
International Christian Concern
Christian persecution in the world's largest democracy continues to escalate as India's Christian community prepares for the Christmas holiday. In the latest incident of violence, a group of Christians were brutally attacked and beaten by Hindu radicals for singing Christmas carols in Singareny Colony of Sarurnagar in India's southern city of Hyderabad.
The incident took place while Pastor Bhim Nayak, head pastor of Banjara Baptist Church, and fifteen of his church members were singing Christmas carols and visiting with other Christian families in Singareny Colony during the evening hours of December 13. According to the Christian victims, around thirty Hindu radicals participated in the attack on the Christians and a vehicle the Christians had hired for the evening festivities.
The attack started when the Hindu radicals surrounded the vehicle and claimed the Christians were attempting to forcefully convert people to Christianity by singing Christmas carols. The radicals then smashed the vehicle's windows and dragged the Christians out into the street where they were beaten severely.
Pastor Nayak and four other were severely injured as the radicals used sticks and clubs to punish their victims for singing Christmas carols. Pastor Nayak, who was for focal point of the radicals' rage, collapsed, unconscious, covered in blood. When the attack was over, Pastor Nayak was taken to a local clinic where he received first aid. After receiving first aid, doctors referred the pastor to a hospital, as his condition was critical and in need of greater medical attention. Along with Pastor Nayak, four other Christians were shifted to the hospital for medical attention as well.
Pastor Nayak, his wife and son were among those severely injured and have been referred to an intensive care unit in a hospital in Hyderabad. The radicals, who attacked the Christians and accused them of forcible conversions, brought a media crew to the place where they attacked the Christians to show other communities that caroling will not be tolerated this year. This action has shocked many in the local Christian community.
Although this is one of the first attacks on Christians in Hyderabad this Christmas season, it is not the first attack on the Christian community of India. Massive reconversion campaigns are taking place all across the northern India and instances of forced conversions and violence against Christian communities has already been reported.
On paper, India is secular democracy with its Constitution guaranteeing the freedom to choose one's religion under Article 25. Despite this, India's Christian community finds itself under increasing attack by Hindu radicals this Christmas season who claim India is a "Hindu nation" in which Christianity is foreign and unwelcome.
In response, International Christian Concern (ICC) has launched a petition calling on India's government to stop attacks on India's Christian community. Please consider adding your name to this petition and taking a stand for India's Christians this Christmas. To sign this petition, please click on this link: http://info.persecution.org/IndiaPetition.
ICC has already extended assistance to Pastor Nayak and the other Christians injured in this latest attack by covering the cost of the medical treatment they need to fully recover. To get involved and assist persecuted Christians like Pastor Nayak, please consider donating to ICC's Hand of Hope South Asia Fund.
Pray for Pastor Nayak who remains in critical condition. Also pray for the ten other Christians injured in this attack. Remember India's Christians this Christmas, as this is likely not the only attack they will be forced to endure this holiday season.
For interviews, contact William Stark, Regional Manager for South Asia: RM-SAsia@persecution.org
# # #
You are free to disseminate this news story. We request that you reference International Christian Concern (ICC) and include our web address, www.persecution.org. ICC is a Washington D.C.-based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC provides Awareness, Advocacy, and Assistance to the worldwide persecuted Church. For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 800-422-5441.