A pastor was beaten, stripped and paraded naked through a village in the first of three separate attacks on church leaders by Hindu extremists in India.
At around 7.30pm on 23 January, a group of around 20 Hindu extremists burst into a house in Karnataka state, where a prayer meeting was taking place, and began shouting abuse at the Christians. They beat and kicked the church leader, Chandrakanth Kalappa Chavan (27), and another man, Kishore Kavalekar, before stripping the former and parading him naked through the village. At around midnight they tied Chandrakanth to a tree near the Hindu temple and then called the police to the scene.
Officers arrived and took the pastor and Kishore to the police station, detaining them overnight. As often happens to victims of anti-Christian violence in India, they – rather than the offenders – were the ones who were charged. The pair are being held in jail.
Two days later, the home of a pastor, who has suffered repeated physical attack at the hands of Hindu extremists because of his faith, was targeted. The offender threw bricks at the hut in Orissa state that Pabita Mohan Kota and his family have been living in after their house was destroyed in the widespread anti-Christian violence of 2008. He shoved Pabita’s daughters and threatened the family:
You Christians must not live here… last time only your houses were broken, and this time all of you will be buried here.
Pabita is in poor health and has partially lost both his eyesight and his hearing as a result of the attacks he has endured. The pastor has been particularly singled out because, before he converted to Christianity, he was a Hindu extremist who himself used to attack Christians. Pabita is currently defending in court a false case filed against him by the Hindus.
Then on 31 January, a group of Hindu extremists beat church leader Rajendra Masih in his home in Chhattisgarh state, leaving him seriously injured with wounds to his face and left eye. He had screened a Hindi movie about Jesus outside his house, and this is understood to be the reason for the attack. The Hindu offenders broke Rajendra’s equipment and afterwards filed a complaint against him for “proselytising” and forced conversions.