Instead of Christmas being a season of joy and glad tidings, it became a time of horror and persecution for some of India’s Christians.
According to the Religious Liberty Commission (RLC) of the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI), there were at least 18 confirmed assaults against Christians in recent weeks.
“Both the frequency of the attacks and their intensity has increased in the past few years,” Rev. Vijayesh Lal, general secretary of the EFI and the national director of the RLC, told Morning Star News.
One of the most severe attacks occurred during a Christmas gathering on Dec. 23 in Kowad village, Kolhapur District in Maharashtra state.
Seven worshippers were sent to the hospital after 20 Hindu extremists charged inside New Life Fellowship Church with makeshift weapons and began attacking people.
“They barged into the worship hall and began to throw big stones and empty beer bottles at the worshippers,” Milton Norenj, coordinator of the New Life Fellowship Jadhinglaj told Morning Star News.
Norenj said the men were screaming, “Jai Bhawani, Jai Shivaji,” a phrase that means victor to the Hindu goddess Bhawani and the Hindu King Shivaji.
Pastor Bhimsen Ganpati Chavan, 36, said there were about 40 Christians present when the attack took place. Many were left injured and required stitches or surgery to recover.
“I have been living here since the year 2000,” Pastor Chavan told Morning Star News. “We have faced some opposition before, but never an attack of this kind.”
He said the attack lasted five to seven minutes until the terrorists left.
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