Indian authorities jailed church leaders and their families after Hindu extremists disrupted a worship service, beat individuals, and livestreamed the events on Facebook in efforts to make the area “free of Christianity.”
According to persecution watchdog International Christian Concern, the attack took place on Sept. 8 in the Domchanch villa of Koderma District in Jharkhand state.
Dozens of assailants from the youth militant group Bajrang Dal reportedly intruded on the church service and began verbally abusing congregants before tearing up Bibles, breaking church supplies, and stealing the offering box.
Following the attack, the group’s organizer, Yadav, went live on Facebook, showing off the Christians who were forced out of their house church and onto the streets. In the video, Yadav is seen pestering women about why they attended the service and claiming that Christianity has destroyed the entire district, according to ICC.
Eventually, the police arrived, and church pastor Manohar Prasad Varnwa, his family, and a few members were forced into a police vehicle. Meanwhile, the assailants stood by, watching the Christians’ arrest. The livestream ends on Yadav’s final comment: “Our job is to make this area free of Christianity.”
According to pastor Varnwa, police and radicals forced him to sign a document promising that he would not preach the Gospel or conduct prayers.
Police denied the forced signature but admitted the team had been sent to the church when they received word that the congregation was “promoting Christianity.”
Just a week earlier, Hindu radicals attacked Pastor Varnwal and another church member and accused them of kidnapping infants. The Hindus physically assaulted the two men and then accused them of illegal conversions when Bibles were found on them.
Over the weekend, it was reported that a massive crackdown on house churches by radical Hindu groups in the Lakhimpur Khere district of Uttar Pradesh after led to the jailing of at least eight Christians on charges of forced conversion.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett