Pastor attacked and three believers injured and hospitalized

Thursday, February 7, 2008

By James Varghese
Special to ASSIST News Service

KARNATAKA, INDIA (ANS) -- A group of 25-30 Hindu fundamentalists attacked Shalom Full Gospel Church in Kumbara Halli village, Hosadurga in Karnataka state around 11am on Sunday, February 3.

According to news released by the web site, 25-30 men, led by a local man named Guruswamy came on motorbikes with Bajrang Dal (Monkey Brigade) flags at around 11 am last Sunday and surrounded the church where worship was taking place and mercilessly beat the pastor, Priya Darshan, and some of the believers present.

The attacker inflicted severe injuries to church believers named Kallesh, Kripakaran and Anjenappa. The activists attacked them with swords, sticks, knives and other instruments.

Then they dragged Pastor Priya Darshan (36) to Hosadurga Police Station, two kilometers away, jeering and chanting anti Christian slogans. The attackers blamed the pastor for conversions.

The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) has approached the additional superintendent of police, Mr. Nagappa, to give the necessary help for the victims. The church believers who were injured are undergoing treatment in Hosadurga Government hospital.

As a result of GCIC's intervention; the pastor was released by about 7 pm from police custody on the same day. The police have also provided protection to the church.

Speaking to ANS Pastor Priya Darshan said, “The police demanded, in front of the Hindu radicals, to put in writing that I was forcibly doing conversions, and I did not agree to do it. Later they somehow forced me to sign on the statement which they wrote for me saying I was forcibly converting people.”

“The next day, the Police the tore up the previous paper and asked me to sign another one on a paper which said that I will not convert anyone to Christianity and I will not conduct worship services.”

Asked about his health he said, “I have few head injuries and I have band headaches and its intolerable.”

Pastor Darshan is married to Shasikala and they have a daughter. He has been ministering in this place for nine years. His church has a gathering of around 300 members and runs under the Free Fellowship of Pentecostal Churches of Karnataka (FFPCK).