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Pastor Hidden, Saved From Hindu Extremists Seeking to Kill Him in UP
Thursday, June 7, 2018, 22:15 (IST)
A pastor was saved by his wife from 25 masked Hindu extremists armed with wooden sticks who attacked a church service in Uttar Pradesh last month and beat up a 55-year-old man, leaving him unconscious.
Women and children were not spared in the attack last month on the Full Gospel Pentecostal Church in Baburia Khera, UP, after which police treated the church members as criminals.
Pr Kamlesh Kumar, the pastor of the church, was the main target for the attackers.
"They were looking for the pastor, saying, 'We will kill him today,'" Kumar's wife, identified only as Shashikala, told Morning Star News.
Her voice shaking, she said, "We had hidden him inside a room and locked the room from outside. They went on hunting for him everywhere. This is how we were able to save his life."
To stop the attackers from beating the congregation in the April 29 assault, Ram Prasad, 55, intervened.
The attackers seized him and beat him until he lost his consciousness.
"I saw Ram Prasad fall on the floor bleeding profusely after being hit by a brick, but the attackers continued kicking him and hitting him with wooden sticks until he lay motionless on the floor," said Shashikala.
They forced their way into neighboring homes in search of Kumar, terrifying the resident women and girls.
"They manhandled women, beat them, pulled their clothes, spoke to them in a filthy language and disgraced them," Kumar told MSN.
Chanting "Jai Shri Ram (Hail lord Ram)," they attacked the congregation, beating men, women and small children, he added. They also used bricks and church's chairs as weapons to attack.
According to MSN, Prasad received stitches for his head wound, and several others sustained injuries requiring medical examination. Shashikala and three other women, identified as Mithlesh, Kalavati and Maya, received medical treatment.
Police was called immediately but the officer who arrived rebuked the Christians for being an active church.
"Instead of taking action against our plight," said Kumar, "the police began to question us as to, 'Why are you running a church? You are not supposed to worship here...otherwise you will get killed and we can do nothing to help you.'"
The officer demanded Christians to "flee from the church," said Shashikala. Interrogating church members, he enquired them if they had been forcibly converted to Christianity.
"The people told the police that none of them have been forced, but that they all come willingly," said Shashikala.
"They told the interrogating police personnel that they come here for prayers and get healed from their diseases and get peace of mind," she added.
Police have registered a First Information Report (FIR) but no arrests have been made, church leaders said.