India: Christians in hiding after threats for reporting a mob attack to police that sent 21 Christians to hospitals

December 6, 2020

Persecution of Christians on India: on November 25, reported on this brutal mob attack. Now the horror of that attack has been compounded by threats designed to prevent the Christians from going to police, as well as by the indifference of the police themselves: “Some survivors said they ran to the nearest Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camp and asked for help, but CRPF soldiers refused to go with them, stating that it was night-time.”

We have also seen this indifference to the persecution of Christians from officials in Pakistan, China, India, and elsewhere. It places the Christians of India, and other countries where Christianity is considered alien, in a particularly precarious position, as the ones who should be protecting them are arrayed against them.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in India, see here.

“Christians in Hiding after Brutal Mob Attack in Central India,” Morning Star News, December 3, 2020:

NEW DELHI (Morning Star News) – Several families are in hiding after tribal animists in Chhattisgarh state, India threatened to kill them for reporting a mob attack to police last week that sent 21 Christians to hospitals, sources said.

Armed with bamboo sticks, iron rods, bows and arrows and iron sickles, the large mob at 1 a.m. on Nov. 25 attacked a home and adjoining church hall in Chingrwaram village, Sukma District, where Christians had celebrated a child dedication the previous evening. Some 20-25 friends and family were sleeping in the home and another 25-30 in the church hall when the villagers, many of them drunk, attacked while accusing the Christians of converting people and celebrating with loud music.

“They beat up the children as well as the women who were cooking food outside,” said Laxman Mandavi, a 21-year-old survivor of the assault. “While the children were beaten up with hands and feet, the others were shot at with arrows and beaten up with iron rods.”

The assailants shot Mandavi’s father, the 50-year-old homeowner Madvi Muka, with arrows, leaving him wounded, and attacked Madkam Sanni with a sickle that left deep cuts between her fingers and fractured her hand, Mandavi said.

“It was complete mayhem, and people were running to save their lives,” another victim, 24-year-old Laxshu Madkam, told Morning Star News. “I received two cuts on my back. My motorbike was broken. The attackers also broke 10 more motorbikes. They pulled the petrol pipes out of 20 more bikes and let the fuel flow.”

Mandavi said that four of the assailants entered a room where they found a young Christian woman and attempted to rape her.

“The attackers surrounded an unmarried sister and tore her clothes attempting to rape her,” he told Morning Star News. “When she started screaming loudly, they dragged her outside and beat her black and blue. She sustained severe internal injuries.”

Mandavi said the assailants destroyed all grain in the storehouse, damaged the house and belongings inside it and scattered the food that was being prepared for the guests’ breakfast.

“They also alleged that we were converting people and influencing them to turn them to our faith,” he said.

Pastor Musaki Kosa, who leads the church that meets at the home, had attended the dedication along with about 80 others (COVID-19 restrictions in the area allow gatherings of up to 100 people). Like most of the nearly 50 people who were staying overnight at the home and church hall, he was asleep when the mob attacked.

“I was able to slip away just in time and hid myself behind the bushes at the edge of the field,” he said. “I was able to see the attack going on from there. They beat up people in a heartless and cruel way.”

Many of the guests escaped to the jungle to save their lives, including Mandavi.

“I heard noise from outside, and suddenly people came in the house – they were saying, ‘We will kill Madvi [his father] and Laxman [Mandavi] today,’” Mandavi said. “When I heard that they are planning to murder us, I slipped away through the back door. I ran to the jungle and stayed there for the rest of the night. I was alone and scared.”

Mandavi said his father had been receiving threats from villagers for two months.

“They planned to attack us, and nearly two months ago had even threatened that they will beat us,” he said. “We know and recognize everyone who attacked us. Our relationship with them has been cordial historically, but we suspect that outsiders have provoked them against us.”

The assault continued until after dawn.

“The attack went for a long time,” Pastor Kosa said. “It seemed like it would not end.”

Some survivors said they ran to the nearest Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camp and asked for help, but CRPF soldiers refused to go with them, stating that it was night-time.

“The CRPF men said that, ‘Unless we get orders from our seniors, we cannot act,’” Mandavi said. “We made innumerable calls to the local police station, to personal mobile numbers, to the emergency numbers, but nobody answered our calls. Most of the personal numbers were turned off, and they did not come until 8 in the morning.”…

India ranked 10th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. The country was 31st in 2013, but its position has been worse each year since Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014.