In one out of series of attacks on Christians in India, since the COVID-19 lockdown was partially lifted, about 150 people dragged a pastor into the street and beat him while praying for the sick, in Telangana.
Pastor Suresh Rao, last Sunday, had arrived at the sick person’s house around 9:30 a.m. for prayer when a mob of about 150 people led by a man identified as Ashok surrounded the house.
According to International Christian Concern, Pastor Rao who serves as a church planter in India’s Southern State of Telangana, was brutally attacked while he was praying for the sick person in Kolonguda village.
“They kicked me like they would kick a football,” Rao told the U.S.-based International Christian Concern about the attack on him.
“They dragged me into the street and pushed me to the ground,” he added. “There, they started to trample on me. They tore my clothes, kicked me all over my body and punched my left eye. I have sustained a serious injury as a result of a blood clot.”
The attackers claimed Pastor Rao was involved in illegal religious conversions, converting Hindus to Christianity.
In his response to the allegations, pastor Rau who has faced multiple encounters with radicals said it was the cost of serving Jesus and he was prepared for it.
‘They said that India is a Hindu nation, and there is no place for Christians,” Rao said.
“I am prepared for this kind of eventuality. I know the cost of serving Jesus in these remote villages, and I will continue to serve the people of this region.”
India ranks at No. 10 on Open Doors USA’s World Watch List of countries with the most Christian persecution.
According to Open Doors, Christians in the country face “horrific” levels of violence from extremists, and thousands are attacked every year.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, attacks on Christian communities in India continued.
In Chhattisgarh, an east-central state, Christians were banned from burying their dead until they paid fines for not taking part in Hindu festivals and rituals.
The Christians were banned for not giving donations and supporting a religious ritual in the villages, and told to pay a fine before they would be allowed to bury their dead.
Also, according to a report, the Hindu nationalist government of the northern state of Haryana recently pledged to enact a law that would restrict Christian activities.
The report states that the law will regulate religious conversions and would lead to the arrest of Christians who share their faith, talk about Heaven or hell, or perform charity work for lower caste Hindus.
The oppressive “anti-conversion” law, termed as Freedom of Religion Acts, presume that Christians give financial benefits or gifts to Hindus to convert them to Christianity.
While these laws have been in place in some states, no Christian has been convicted of “forcibly converting anyone to Christianity.
As India continues to emerge from COVID-19 lockdown, there are fears that persecution of Christians will follow.