Hindu Militants Attack Prayer Service; 11 Injured

Friday, January 22, 2010

By Worthy News Asia Service

NEW DELHI, INDIA (Worthy News)-- Indian police have released on bail Hindu militants who allegedly attacked a Christian prayermeeting in Western India, seriously injuring at least 11 Christians, a rights group said Friday, January 22.

U.S.-based International Christian Concern (ICC) said the January 17 violence in the city of Udaipur in the Indian state of Rajasthan beganwhen members of the radical Hindu group Rashtriya Swayamsavak Sangh (RSS) raided the Faith Calvary Church prayer meetingarmed with machetes, axes and sticks "and proceeded to beat Pastor Surajth Bhagari and church members of the church."

FCC founder and director T.M. Omkar was quoted as saying that Christians suffered broken legs, arms and injuries to their heads. The victims were reportedly taken to a nearby government hospital where they "were partially" treated.

Administrators of the hospital allegedly refused to issue them a medical certificate. "We felt that the hospital administration waspressured by some group who are keen to create trouble for the Christians. We are taking the matter to the court," Omkar reportedlysaid.

Police briefly detained six "Hindu extremists" on charges that included "rioting, being armed with deadly weapons, unlawful assembly in prosecution of [a] common object, house trespass and punishment for voluntarily causing hurt," ICCsaid.


However the suspects  were released on bail the same day, the group added. In a statement, police reportedly said however they would "protect the Christians from further attacks" but ICC questions the officers intentions.

ICC said Christians already filed a police complaint immediately after the violence but that officers only wrote a report onthe crime the next day after initially refusing to provide a so-called First Information Report.

"We condemn the attacks on Faith Calvary Church by Hindu radicals. We urge Indian officials to take protective measures againstthe widespread attacks of Christian minorities by Hindu radicals," said ICC’s Regional Manger for Africa and South Asia,Jonathan Racho.

Christians comprise just over two percent of India's mainly Hindu population of nearly 1.2 billion people, according tothe United States Central Intelligence Service (CIA).

There have been increased anti-Christian attacks reported by Hindu radicalgroups who oppose the spread of Christianity in India.