Hindu Radicals Beat Up Pastor and Church Members

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

By James Varghese
Special to ASSIST News Service

MALLURU, KOLAR, KARNATKAKA, INDIA (ANS) -- A group of 30 Hindu radicals beat up an Indian pastor and two of his church members during a worship service on Sunday, August 26.

This incident took place in Mulluru village, Kolar District, Karnataka State in India. The pastor who was attacked was Immanuel Venkatesh who ministers at an independent church called Yesu Prithisuthane [Jesus Loves] Church.

The attack took place at 11:30 AM on Sunday as the congregation had stood for the reading the Bible. A group of 30 Hindu extremists from the Bajrang Dal group arrived on motorbikes and some walking. They entered the church and began shouting. [Bajrang Dal is sometimes translated as “Monkey Brigade” and is the youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), and one of its family of organizations (Sangh Parivar) based on the core ideology of Hindutva.]

They approached the pastor and one of them loudly asked him, “What are you doing here? Who gave you the right to do this activity? You are an outsider (from other state).”

They began to beat up the pastor and delivered several blows to his chest and back. The church members present tried to intervene and prevent further blows. They managed to lock him in a nearby room. In the meantime, a church member named Yenkataraju was beaten up and blows on his face and then stabbed with a knife, leaving him badly wounded.

On hearing the commotion, the pastor came out of the room and again the extremists attacked him and as he lay on the floor, about ten of the attackers kicked him savagely. Seeing this, Thimmakka, a lady member and the house owner of the rented house church, tried to intervene and they then punched on her on the face and back, and broke several of her teeth.

One of the assailants then held the knife close to the pastor and said, “We’ll kill you if you won’t stop this activity.”

Ravi, one of the onlookers from the church called managed to escape and inform the local police and they soon arrived and took the pastor and the assailants into their custody.

Two of the church members’ sustained severe injuries have since undergone treatment.

Previous Attack

Speaking to ANS, Pastor Immanuel said, “Eight years back, these radicals had lodged a complaint against me and wanted me arrested on charges on conversion. But the police officials supported us and helped us.”

Pastor Venakatesh has been ministering in this house church for the past 20 years. The group has no building and church construction is under progress and they are conducting their worship service in a rented house. Around 80 people gather for the worship service each Sunday.

Dr. H.T Sangliana, a Member of Parliament and the former Commissioner of Police condemned these attacks. Taking to ANS he said, “These attacks on Christians are increasing day by day. Measures need to be taken to stop these atrocities on Christians.”