India Militants Attack Pastors, Burn Churches

Thursday, January 11, 2007

By BosNewsLife News Center

NEW DELHI, INDIA (BosNewsLife) -- Pastors and other believers were recovering from injuries or struggling to rebuild burnt down churches in several areas of India Wednesday, January 10, after militants reportedly attacked them.

The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) said seven youngsters attacked Pastor Robert Kennedy of the evangelical Jeus Preethi Church in Bangalore in Karnataka state on Sunday, January 7, after asking him to “pray for a sick friend.”

They "detached the mike base from the stand and attacked him with it, causing severe head injuries which later needed 13 stitches. The pastor was attacked with the mike stand on his face, back and head," the GCIC, an advocacy group, said.

Militants allegedly surrounded the pastor and asked him and other believers to stop worshipping Jesus Christ in that place. “We will crucify you in the same way that Christ was crucified”, they were quoted as saying by the GCIC.


A church member, identified as "Mr. Rajendran" reportedly rushed to the pastor’s defense "and was attacked severely," the GCIC said. "They detached the mike base from the stand and attacked him with it, causing severe head injuries which later needed 13 stitches. The pastor was attacked with the mike stand on his face, back and head."

Another church member, identified as "Mr. Raghavan", was reportedly dragged out of the building and beaten for bringing a colleague to the congregation for the first time.

There was also violence in neighboring Andhra Pradesh state, Hindu militants allegedly beat two pastors on January 6 and 7 after warning them to cease Christian activities in their villages.

One of them, Pastor Malaiya Gabriel, a Dalit, planted a church in Shivalingam village near Kammareddy town of Nizamabad district. "He was warned several times not to do his church work in the area by the caste Hindus who oppose any form of work by the Christians," GCIC said.


Undeterred, Gabriel continued, till "a large crowd of people accosted him on a dark section of the road back into the town," on January 6, the group added. "They beat him up severely, using clubs." He was reportedly severely beaten on the head.

"His face is fully swollen up and he cannot open his eyes" said GCIC Coordinator Lionel Francis in comments monitored by BosNewsLife.

The next day, January 7, Hindu militants reportedly also attacked Pastor Narsimullu Jacob of Vanasthalipuran village, Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh state.

He had apparently been warned to cease worship services and to stop evangelism in the area. "The Telegana region of Andhra Pradesh is seeing a strong anti-Christian wave of attacks," said Francis.


"Attacks against Christians are increasing in the towns bordering Maharastra, as the [Hindu] groups RSS and VHP are well-networked here. Large crowds of even 200 people are assembling to carry out the attacks."

On December 28, Hindu militants reportedly attacked Pastor Pawan Kumar, an independent pastor preaching near Bodhan, Telangana. The violent group allegedly entered the home of local believer Issac Raju and beat some 14 Christians, burning their Bibles and sound system.

News of the violence against Christians came as US-based human rights group International Christian Concern (ICC) said it learned that Hindu villagers in Andhra Pradesh burnt down an independent Christian church.

The December 1 incident, details of which emerged only Wednesday, January 10, happened in Pedda Demili village in Bamini area of Srikakulam district, said the ICC, with website


They reportedly torched the church and parsonage built on government land at about midnight while Pastor Vijay Kumar was away with his wife and a child to a relative’s house.

Household items and musical instruments inside the building were reportedly completely charred. ICC recalled that two more churches were burnt in Andhra Pradesh recently including in Dubbaka village of Nizamabad district on November 17. Another church was found burnt in Roadduvalasa village in Vijayanagaram district on October 17.

Andhra Pradesh, where the total population is more than 76 million, there are a little over one million Christians, according to ICC estimates. Analysts have linked the attacks to concerns within Hindu groups and governments about the spread of Christianity in India, a predominantly Hindu nation. (With BosNewsLife Research and reports from India).

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