An elderly Christian in India has suffered severe injuries after being subjected to a brutal attack at the hands of Hindu radicals. On July 21, a group of nationalists attacked a group of eight Christians from Badaguda village in Odisha, India.
Ayuba Khora, a local pastor, recalled to Persecution Relief: “They broke into the home of 75-year-old Chachiri Muduli, who was sheltering seven Christians after their homes had been broken down earlier this year by the same fanatics.
"[They] mercilessly beat the Christians and destroyed the house.”
The pastor added that eight believers had been "admitted to the local government hospital with severe injuries, of which the elderly Chachiri had the worst wounds".
Pastor Khora, who leads a house church of around 40 people in Badaguda, Odisha, said that over recent months, villagers have been harassing his congregation, taunting them and saying things like: "When you pray, our gods leave us, so you have to stop praying here or leave this village.”
"The villagers told us that our Christian faith has disturbed the village,” explained one young girl, Sumitra.
Another villager added: "Some of these villagers are very angry with us because we worship Jesus Christ and are trying to make us forsake Christianity."
Khora and other members of his congregation have filed at least three First Information Reports (FIR) on the incidents, but the police have yet to take any concrete action against the assailants.
A recently released report from Persecution Relief indicates that incidences of violence against Christians have increased over the lockdown period. The data collected on frequency of attacks paints “a very grim picture” of religious freedom in the nation, the group noted in its half-yearly report.
“Hate crimes against Christians in India have risen by an alarming 40.87 percent,” the report reads.
Shibu Thomas, the founder of Persecution Relief, told UCA News that the persecution is becoming increasingly common.
“The frightening and contagious crusade of religious nationalism and intolerance has now peaked at new inhuman altitudes," he said, noting that their collected data on the violence was just "the tip of the iceberg".
"We could report only a fraction of the actual violence perpetrated against Christians in various states,” he added. “Many people do not report, fearing retribution from the tormentors and administrative machinery. Some cases in interior villages also go unreported because they are so cut off without electricity and phone connectivity.”