India Militants Attack Pastors' Conference, 10 Injured

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

By BosNewsLife News Center

NEW DELHI, INDIA (BosNewsLife) -- At least 10 Christians were recovering from their injuries Monday, February 5, after Hindu militants reportedly attacked a pastors' conference in Raipur, the capital of India's Chhattisgarh state.

About 25 members of the Hindu extremist group Dharam Sena, or 'Religion Army,' raided the meeting Friday afternoon, February 2, as organizers were preparing for the opening session of the gathering at the Singh Palace banquet hall in Pandri, a sub-district of Raipur, Indian Christians said.

"When the Dharam Sena barged into the hall, my female manager tried to stop them, but they manhandled her and then proceeded to attack the participants," Jay Prakash, the Christian owner of Singh Palace was quoted as saying by Compass Direct News agency.

The militants allegedly shouted "Jai Shri Ram! [Hail god Rama]," as they beat the Christians with sticks, verbally insulting and accusing them of "forcibly converting Hindus."


Participants reportedly desperately tried to find hiding places. "My staff locked one elderly Christian couple into a room for their safety," Prakash said. About 100 Christian leaders were present at the meeting, and of those "at least 10 received injuries," he claimed. The Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) reportedly said that local believer Sakha Ram was the most seriously injured.

The mob apparently beat two foreigners, identified only as Jack and Coli. "The extremists dragged them at least one kilometer away, beating them all along the way," EFI said in published remarks. Two other foreign guests managed to escape, Christians said.

The mob also damaged chairs on the property and took a laptop, two mobile phones, digital cameras and 10,000 rupees ($227) in cash from the participants, reported Compass Direct News.


Police registered a complaint against "unidentified" people in the mob, but seemed reluctant to arrest those responsible, Indian Christians said.

Singh Palace owner Prakash has linked the violence to his friendship with Pastor Philip Jagdalla, who was beaten by the Dharam Sena and accused of "forcible conversions" in December 2006.

The Chhattisgarh Christian Forum has reportedly condemned the attack and urged the local police to ensure that the culprits are brought to justice. Chhattisgarh has a population of about 21 million, of which only roughly 400,000 are Christian, according to experts. (With reports from India.

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