Christian minister in UP suffers severe injuries in vicious attack by radical group

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A mob of Hindu extremists brutally assaulted a pastor in Uttar Pradesh’s Maharajganj district on 24 March inflicting serious head injuries. Although a police complaint was registered, his family said that no action had been taken at the time of reporting.

Pastor Shailesh Kumar, a resident of Jamui Kala village, was "attending a birthday celebration" in a nearby village, Nichlaul along with his wife Saroj and 5-year-old daughter when about 25 Hindu extremists barged into the house amidst celebrations. They began to assault the pastor, accusing him of carrying out “forced conversions,” said Saroj while speaking to Christian Today.

Kumar sustained several brutal injuries. A chunk of flesh was visibly missing from near his eye and forehead in the immediate pictures taken after the assault. He also sustained severe internal injuries.

Kumar was taken to the Gorakhpur Medical College Hospital after midnight and was admitted and treated for his injuries.

"He was admitted for about four days before he was discharged, and I brought him home," said Saroj, the pastor's wife, while speaking to Christian Today.

The doctors performed a CT scan and X-ray and ruled out severe internal damage.

Saroj, quite disturbed, told Christian Today that Shailesh seemed to be recovering well, but he developed a fever on March 31.

Details of the event were included in a counter-complaint, but Saroj stated that "no action has yet been taken."

Saroj said that in order to provide a statement, the pastor or she would need to go to the Circle Officer. She was unable to give any further information, though, on the current procedures or the coordinator.

Seven people make up Kumar's family: Saroj, Pastor Shailesh, the pastor's mother and father, his brother and sister, and the pastor's daughter, a nursery school student. The family's primary source of income is the ministry, with occasional agricultural revenue to complement it.

"My husband does not have a church; he conducted house fellowships, but those have stopped for about six months now due to severe opposition and persecution. All house fellowships in our area have been forced to shut," concluded Saroj, worried about the uncertainties of the future.