09/28/2019 India (International Christian Concern) – On September 8, Hindu extremists and Indian authorities jailed church leaders and their families after hardline Hindus disrupted a worship service, beat individuals, and live-streamed the events on Facebook. The assailants, from the youth militant group Bajrang Dal, led the attack in Domchanch villa of Koderma District in Jharkhand state.
The pastor, Manohar Prasad Varnwal, was threatened and temporarily locked up by police. On that Sunday morning, approximately 40 to 50 Bajrang Dal members intruded on the service of 40 Christians gathered. Pastor Varnwal’s wife, Savita Devi, attempted to stop the first few assailants who came, abusing the congregation verbally.
When the dust settled, Bibles lay torn or seized, church supplies broken and the offering box gone. It was not long before the organization’s convener, Yadav, went live on Facebook, showing off the Christians who were forced out of their house church and onto the streets.
In his video, Yadav is seen pestering women about why they attended the service and claiming that Christianity has destroyed the entire district. Eventually the police arrive. Upon their arrival, the pastor, his family and a few members were forced into a police vehicle. The assailants stood proudly and unharmed.
The livestream is ended on Yadav’s final comment, “Our job is to make this area free of Christianity”.
According to Pastor Varnwal, police and radicals forced him to sign a document promising that he would not preach the Gospel or conduct prayers. The police deny this forced signature. One policeman said that the team had been sent to the church when they received word that the congregation was “promoting Christianity”, despite the fact that evangelism and conversion are legal in India.
The church attack was preceded by an attack on Pastor Varnwal and another church member, just seven days prior. Members of a Hindu radical group accused them of kidnapping infants, physically assaulted the two men, and then accused them of conversions when Bibles were found on them.
International Christian Concern