LUDHIANA, INDIA (Worthy News)-- A major evangelical group has urged the government of India's Punjab state to protect minority Christians after Hindu militants allegedly attacked a church and injured at least one Christian, Worthy News has learned.
The Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) said a Hindu mob armed with sticks and swords attacked a church in the city of Ludhiana last Sunday, November 14. They also "beat up a believer and threatened him and his family with dire consequences if they (continue) to attend Sunday worship [services]" added EFI General Secretary Richard Howell in a statement.
The troubles began last month when a man, identified as Munna, attended a church service and requested Christian believer Bindeshwar to explain more about Christianity, EFI said.
During conversations at Bindeshwar's home Munna became aggressive and after several meetings there he returned with a Hindu mob of some 40 people, EFI explained.
They allegedly beat up Bindeshwar because the devoted Christian and his family refused to leave their church. The mob also went to the church Sunday, November 14, to attack Pastor Sunil, but the church leader did not appear, EFI said.
Hindu militants allege that Pastor Sunil "offered money to Munna in exchange for embracing Christianity," charges Christians have strongly denied.
Police soon detained three suspects, but they were released under pressure of the influential Hindu-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said EFI. BJP could not be reached for comment.
Around 50 pastors and leaders from different denominations have asked local police to launch a criminal investigation, but "police is trying to hush up the matter without taking any action," EFI said. In a statement, police said "that an inquiry is underway."
Howell said he has urged supporters to "kindly write to the Chief Minister of Punjab, appealing him to safe guard the rights of the minority communities...And to give protection to churches against attacks and to take immediate action against the perpetrators of violence."
The latest attack comes amid reported growing opposition among Hindu groups against the spread of Christianity in the country, a predominantly Hindu nation of over 1 billion people.