India: Mobs of Thousands Attack Christian Homes, Police Stand By and Do Nothing

October 1, 2020

Persecution of Christians in India: one of the victims of the mob in this article says, “I pleaded with and begged the police officers to go and stop them, but they did not go.” Hindu and tribal animist mobs continue to target Christians while claiming that Christianity, which has been in India since apostolic times, is a foreign faith. Police, sympathetic to the attackers, stand by idly, a phenomenon we have seen in many other nations as well.

The Christians of India today are being called upon to have the courage and perseverance of the Holy Martyrs. They are in urgent need of protection from government and law enforcement authorities who, all too often, side with their persecutors. In India, as in so many other nations, the persecution of Christians continues to become more commonplace and aggressive by the day, while authorities do nothing to stop it, or sometimes even actively abet it.

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

“Mobs of Thousands Attack Christian Homes in India,” Morning Star News, September 29, 2020:

NEW DELHI (Morning Star News) – Incited by Hindu extremists, thousands of tribal animists in Chhattisgarh, India last week drove Christians in three villages from their homes in assaults that police declined to prevent or stop in spite of prior warnings, sources said.

The attacks on Sept. 22-23 by mobs that swelled to more than 3,000 agitators damaged homes, sent Christians fleeing for their lives and left a woman hospitalized with serious injuries, but police officers’ only response was to pressure Christians to contribute to the Hindu festivals that were the touch point of the hostilities.

Sivram Koyam, a resident of Kakadbeda in Kondagaon District, said he and other Christians were at the local police station on Sept. 22 trying to warn officers of impending violence when they received calls from relatives saying fierce mobs were attacking their homes.

“From three in the afternoon till eight in the night, I pleaded with and begged the police officers to go and stop them, but they did not go,” Koyam told Morning Star News. “The furious mob came in search of me, and not finding me home, they picked up my wife and smashed her on the ground three times.”

The mob of about 3,000 animists were chanting Hindu slogans as they damaged homes in Kakadbeda village, he said.

“One of them tore my wife’s blouse [the garment worn beneath a saree],” Koyam said. “Besides grievous internal injuries, my wife was gripped with fear and traumatized by the incident. She developed fever and could not move due to severe pain and injuries.”

She had difficulty breathing due to chest injuries and was rushed to a hospital in Kondagaon 11 miles way, he said. She underwent treatment and was expected to be discharged soon.

The mob damaged 10 homes belonging to seven Christians in Kakadbeda, and the next morning (Sept. 23) they proceeded to Singanpur village, damaging homes of three Christians, and Tiliyabeda village, damaging the homes of two Christians.

Fearing for their lives, Koyam and nine other Christians have taken shelter in the house of a Christian several miles away. As the Christians ran for their lives, the assailants caught one Christian and beat him, he said. His whereabouts are unknown.

Christians registered three complaints – one with Kondagaon police on Sept. 20 based on signs of impending danger, the other with the superintendent of police’s office in Kondagaon on Sept. 22 and the third with the district collector on Thursday (Sept. 24). When Morning Star News called the superintendent of police several times beginning on Sept. 24 using various phones, each time he indicated he could not hear the caller’s voice.

Kondagaon District Collector Pushpendra Kumar Meena told Morning Star News that Christians and the opposing villagers were meeting for negotiations and were “at peace with each other,” though heads of Christian families have not dared return to the damaged homes.

“As of today [Sept. 28], there is no communal tension in the village,” Meena maintained.

Trigger Point

While the tribal animists attacking the Christians were not Hindus, Hindu nationalist groups have worked for more than 10 years to introduce Hindu practices into tribal customs and have incited tribal villagers against Christians, sources said.

Tribal villagers in Kakadbeda who have been indoctrinated to undertake Hindu practices wanted Christians to contribute to the monthly Hindu Shivratri festival. When Christians declined to contribute to the latest festival, the tribal Hindus of the village rounded up the Christians and threatened them on Sept. 19, Koyam said.

“They told us to renounce our faith in Jesus Christ and alleged that because of our prayers, their god becomes ashuddh [Hindi word for ‘defiled’],” Koyam said.

The sub-divisional magistrate of Kondagaon confirmed the tribal people’s demands.

“The villagers are demanding that the Christians give up their Christian faith, but the Christian community is not complying,” he told Morning Star News.

Arun Pannalal of the Chhattisgarh Christian Forum noted how Hindu extremists have influenced the tribal villagers.

“Tribals are nature worshippers and practice ancestor worship – how come they are celebrating Shivratri?” Pannalal said. “Shivratri is not a tribal festival but a Hindu festival. So how was tribal culture compromised there?”

He added that he and other Christians were disappointed by police efforts to arrange a “compromise” between the assailants the victims.

“They have no business to barter a deal of compromise,” he said. “Under which provision of the law have they refused to file FIRs [First Information Reports]? Are they ensuring an imaginary peace? A crime has been committed, and the law must take its own course. The police must not subvert.”…

India is ranked 10th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian….