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Christian persecution India.jpg
World News

Over 50 Christians and 20-year-old church attacked in India

A group of Christians have been beaten as they gathered for Sunday worship in Polmi village in India's Chhattisgarh state. 

The attack was reported by CSW who said approximately 60 Christians were gathered in the church when a mob "of between 150 and 200 armed religious fundamentalists from the nearby village of Bhejgar barged in at around 10am on 29th August shouting Hindu chants of 'Jai Shri Ram' (Translation: "Long Live Shri Ram")."

Women and children were among those attacked.

CSW sources report that some of the women had their saris ripped off and their hair pulled, while the men were beaten with sticks and the altar and musical instruments were broken.

The mob also tore a Bible from the pulpit and trampled it under their feet, and they placed Hindu idols inside the church and worshipped them. It was also reported that when some of the women stood up to the attackers and questioned the reason for the vandalism, they were told that 'since they were born in India, they had to remain Hindus and worship Hindu deities.'  

The church in Polmi has been used as a place of worship for almost 20 years.

It was planted by Sonsingh Paraste, and is currently led by Mr Paraste's son, Kamal Singh Paraste, 25, after his father died due to COVID-19. CSW sources report that the Christians had lived in peace with the other villagers for years prior to the attack.

Arun Pannalal, President of Chhattisgarh Christian Forum, a body which has been fighting persecution and protecting churches for the past 25 years, said in a statement: "Attacks on churches and Christian houses is now a routine occurrence. Generating hatred against a community yields rich political dividends. It precipitates Hindu votes thus creating a Hindu vote bank. In other states and at the national level too, this experiment has been successful. Whichever government is in power, hatred and attacks against Christians will continue. 

"Legal and administrative apathy will be there. After all, nearly all officers in power come from a Hindu background. The police won't register First Information Reports, the courts will keep delaying, the perpetrators will keep roaming free, waiting for another day to culminate another attack."

CSW's Founder President Merwyn Thomas added: "Too often Christians in India are attacked by Hindu nationalists who are emboldened by a culture of impunity and the government's own rhetoric of Hindutva. We call on the Indian government and the government of Chhattisgarh to ensure that the perpetrators of this crime are taken to task and the victims of the attack are compensated. Freedom of religion or belief is a fundamental right upheld in the Indian constitution, and no one should be forced to practice a faith that they don't believe in."

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