by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - A mob of Sikhs and Hindus armed with swords and wooden rods attacked a church meeting in India’s Punjab state last month, breaking the leg of a pastor’s wife and slashing the head of a teenaged congregant, Morning Star News (MSN) reports. India ranks 10 on the Open Doors USA World Watch List of top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.
On July 12, congregants of the Evangelical Church of God in the Arniwala area of Fazilka District, Punjab had gathered to share a meal when the mob of 15 male Sikhs and Hindus arrived and went on the rampage, MSN reports. “The mob barged inside the gates,” Pastor Roop Lal told MSN. “They vandalized everything in their sight and attacked us with swords and wooden sticks, during which my wife and the teenager of our church received severe injuries.”
Pastor Lal told MSN that local residents have come against his Christian ministry for 21 years now. The church has grown, and the number of people coming to faith in Christ appears to have triggered hostility from the Sikh and Hindu community.
“They feel the crowds are thronging to the church,” Pastor Lal attested. “They had been waiting for an opportunity to attack us. They wanted us to flee from the area. It was only the Lord who saved my wife from the brutal attack; she would have been dead in their hands that day. But our Lord is merciful. We give Him praise as we endure this phase of persecution,” he said.
Pastor Lal’s wife, Raj Rani, is still bed-ridden after two surgeries on her left leg, and 19-year-old Lovepreet Singh received 18 stitches for a wound on his scalp. Moreover, Pastor Lal said: “Since there is a threat to our lives, we had to move to an area around 15 miles away. We do not know when we would be able to return to our home on the church premises. Please pray for us; there is a threat to our lives.”
Pastor Lal filed a complaint about the riot and destruction with Arniwala police, but this was immediately countered with a false charge by the perpetrators against him. “Arniwala police registered a case against us falsely alleging that my sons and I have attacked neighbor Sri Chand,” Pastor Lal said. The Alliance Defending Freedom-India organization is providing legal assistance to the family in this matter.