by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - Christians in India’s Karnataka state came under a surge of violent attacks by Hindu extremists during the Christmas period last month, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports. Joining other Indian states, Karnataka has passed a new anti-conversion law that has reportedly encouraged Hindu nationalists to attack believers they falsely accuse of forcing Hindus to convert to Christianity.
In one violent episode, a mob of 30 Hindus stormed a church in Tukkanatti and began to beat up congregants with sticks and rope. “Christmas this year turned out to be very violent,” Pastor Akshay Kumar, leader of the church, told ICC. “I have been serving as a pastor in this place for the past 20 years and have never faced such aggression. I feel sorry for my congregation as they had to go through this on a festive day.”
In another example of the spate of attacks, Christ Grace Prayer Hall Church had to cancel their Christmas service in Akkihebbalu village, ICC reports. Pastor H.R. Peter told ICC: “A mob of Hindu radicals, joined by the police and the Tahsildar, came to the church on Christmas Eve and told us we could not hold a Christmas service. The reason they gave was that we did not have the proper permission to gather as a congregation.”
“We are being hounded by the anti-Christians,” Pastor Peter continued. “The goal is to wipe out Christianity from the village. Several times the Hindu radicals have come to the church to disrupt the services. They’ve told us we cannot run the church anymore because we did not get permission to hold prayers.”
The United Christian Forum has reported that 2021 saw a record number of violent attacks by Hindus on Christians in India. The Forum recorded 486 violent attacks, many of which happened in the last three months of the year. India ranks 10 on the US Open Doors Watch List 2022 of top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.