Pastor attacked, case not registered by officials

Published 05 August 2019  |  

Eight Hindu radicals pushed a pastor off his bike and beat him up for distributing Christian pamphlets in Sheohar district in Bihar on June 23.

The incident that occurred in the neighbourhood of Sheohar had left pastor Shelton Viswanathan with a fractured neck and head. However, pastor Viswanathan was unwilling to lodge a complaint because religious persecution against minorities is continuously ignored by police authorities in India. As a matter of fact, when the issue was finally reported, police officials in the region refused to register a case against the attackers.

Members of the Pastors' Christian fellowship in Bihar are angry and discouraged by the increasing attacks against minorities in the past two years.

"The Hindutva [Hindu nationalist] extremists are walking into churches and are disrupting prayer services – on a weekly basis, we hear of threats and attacks on home churches and pastors," Devash Lal, member of the Pastors Fellowship said. "Christian persecution is widely spread across Bihar, and it appears to be a much planned, systematic opposition created to target activities.

"We also see police supporting the perpetrators instead of taking action against them, and the victims do not come forward, fearing this bias."

Pastor Viswanathan shared with Morning Star News that if he forced the police to register a case against the attackers, the Bajrang Dal's top leaders will not spare him. "The police officials asked me to be wary, as the Hindu militant activists roam freely with guns, and through their videos, I can be easily identified by other RSS [Hindu extremist umbrella group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh]-affiliated groups also," he said.

Christians in the region are now reluctant to report any such incidents that would make them more vulnerable.

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