India: Fresh attacks on Christians in Chattisgarh and MP

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We request your prayers for the following two incidents:

Believers attacked in Chhattisgarh

Just within days of the harrowing experiences of Christians in four districts of Orissa, the neighboring state, Chhattisgarh, too is witnessing atrocities against Christians.

Around 100 unknown attackers armed with lathis (sticks) weapons and petrol bombs attacked a prayer meeting led by Pastor Mohan C. Thomas and Jose Kajur in Bothli village of Gurur area of Durg district.

The attackers rushed to the attack site in a truck where around 2500 people from nearby villages gathered to attend an open air prayer meeting on Wednesday, January 16, 2008.

The innocent Christians and Christian workers were targeted on the pretext of forceful conversion. In 10 minutes of brutal attack, the attackers beat them mercilessly and burnt the huge pandal (tent) down to ashes where they were assembled. The incident was witnessed by viewers on a prime News Channel IBN 7.

The Sub-Divisional Officer of Police of Durg, Shri Pipre, informed one of our lawyers that an FIR was filed under sections 147, 148, 149, 426 and 427 of the Indian Penal Code and few arrests were made but due to the lack of sufficient proof the suspects were later released on bail.

If last year’s incidents of 15th and 25th June were to be taken into account, the hand of radical Hindu extremist groups cannot be ruled out.

It is disheartening that the print media has wrongly reported the incident, accusing the villagers for the attack and safeguarding the suspected Hindu militant groups.

The Christians of the area are unwilling to speak out against these anti social elements as they fear that any such "provocation'' could adversely affect their educational and service institutions.

Please pray that the police will take active part in finding and arresting the perpetrators of the crime and also pray for the safety of the Christians in this area.

Two Believers kidnapped in Madhya Pradesh

A group of Bajrang Dal activists attacked a house church in Pathigawan village under Nayagadi police station in Madhya Pradesh around 8am this morning.. They also kidnapped GEMS (Gospel Echo Mission Society) missionary, Mr.Vijaya Kumar Morya and Mr. Keera Lal who is involved in the GEMS ministry.

The activists attacked with swords, sticks, knives and other instruments. Two believers were critically injured in the attack and are undergoing treatment in the hospital.

According to our correspondents, eight men, led by AP Sakhi (Bajrang Dal area secretary) came on motorbikes with Bajrang Dal flags at around 8 am today and surrounded the house where worship was taking place. They beat the two kidnapped believers mercilessly before taking them away on their bikes.

At this moment, the whereabouts of the kidnapped victims are unknown.

An FIR under sections 341, 294, 323, 506 and 39 of the Indian Penal Code has been filed in Nayagadi Police Station and the Rewa district DIG (Deputy Inspector General of Police) is also informed about the same.

We earnestly request your prayers for the safe return of our missionaries and the situation to be under control.

Rev. Dr. Richard Howell,
General Secretary,
Evangelical Fellowship of India,
New Delhi, India

Evangelical Fellowship of India (established 1951) is a charter member of World Evangelical Alliance an accredited NGO with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.