India: Pastor along with church members beaten; threatened in Bhilai

General August 9, 2007

EVANGELICAL FELLOWSHIP OF INDIA

805/92, Deepali building , Nehru Place, New Delhi
- 110019, India.
Phone : 91-11-26431133, 26423726,
Telefax : 91-11-26285350
http://www.efionline.org
On August 5, 2007 during the Sunday worship service Pastor Babula Chandra Paik of Christian Church was attacked by approximately 50 Hindu extremists in Bhillai, Chattisgarh.

A large group belonging to the Hindu radical outfit, Bajrang Dal, came to the church armed with lathis, sticks and started shouting slogans against the congregation. They were agitating against the pastor’s alleged involvement in forcible conversion in the area.

The angry mob lead by Rajesh Thabre and Sudeep Banerjee dragged the pastor and beat an elder who was later treated for injuries at a clinic. Shouting slogans they also damaged the church property and torn the Bibles. The mob also beat an elderly believer, Mr. Adi Narayan, who was present in the house church at the time.

The pastor refuted by saying that he is only conducting the worship services for the local Christians and the allegations made by the opposition are false.

Later pastor along with few church members lodged an FIR (No.63) against the attackers. Shri. T.S. Rajput from Supela Thana informed Christian Legal Association that the attackers were booked under Sections 147, 148,149, 443, 427, 295 and 323 of Indian Penal Code. No arrests have been made so far.

The church, housed in a rented building in Baba Deep Singh Nagar, Bhilai for the last 4 years is run by Mid India Christian Services.

Section 147-149 of Indian Penal Code deals with punishment for rioting armed with deadly weapon. Section 295 deals with Injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class. Section 323 deals with Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt and Section 443 deals with House trespass.

Evangelical Fellowship of India requests your prayers for the Pastor and his congregation and for the speedy impartment of justice.

Rev. Ricard Howell
General Secretary
Evangelical Fellowship of India