A Christian pastor has been attacked and beaten by a mob of radical Hindu nationalists while in a police station in Raipur, in India’s Chhattisgarh state, acording to International Christian Concern (ICC).
Local media has reported Pastor Bariayar was falsely accused of engaging in illegal religious conversions by radical Hindu nationalists.
When Pastor Bariayar, accompanied by two other pastors, arrived at the police station, a mob of nearly 50 radical Hindu nationalists burst into the Station House Officer’s office and began to beat the pastor with shoes and fists.
“The entire thing happened as if it was well planned,” an eyewitness, who wished to remain anonymous, told ICC. “I think the police knew about the attack before it took place. It is sad that Christians are not safe even inside the police station.”
“They told me to my face that they would kill me,” Pastor Bariayar told ICC. “I thought I was safe, being with the police in their premises, but I was wrong. In the beginning, the police did not do anything to protect me from the attack. After they hit me with the shoe and punched me in my face, the police then tried to stop them from beating me.”
A report has been filed against seven members of the mob and so far only two of them have been arrested.
William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager for South Asia, said, “The fact that it was allowed to happen in the police station in the presence of the Station House Officer indicates the impunity enjoyed by many radical Hindu nationalists.
“This is a symptom of a larger problem in India. Religious intolerance and religiously motivated violence have become so normalized that attacks on Christians in the presence of police, outside the station, have come to be expected.
“The only thing that has shocked Christians here is the location of the attack and not the attack itself. Strict action must be taken against the perpetrators of this attack and the police officers who have allowed this climate of impunity to exist.”