08/04/2019 India (International Christian Concern) – On June 23rd, eight young Hindu radicals attacked a pastor who was delivering Christian pamphlets on his motorbike in his neighborhood in Sheohar, India. They pushed him off his bike and beat him up, fracturing bones in his neck and head. While the incident was clearly unjust, the pastor expressed fear and reluctance in reporting the issue to the police because authorities in India continuously ignore unjust acts of religious persecution against Christians and other religious minorities. In fact, when the issue was finally reported, police officials refused to register the case.
The pastor, Pastor Shelton Viswanathan, moved to Sheohar when he felt a strong call of God on his life to work in the Bihar region. He has lived there for about fifteen years, doing the work of God. In the past two year, violence against religious minorities in the region has soared and members of the Pastors’ Christian fellowship in the region are discouraged and angry.
“The Hindutva [Hindu nationalist] extremists are walking into churches and are disrupting prayer services – on a weekly basis, we hear of threats and attacks on home churches and pastors,” Devash Lal of the Bihar Pastors Fellowship said. “Christian persecution is widely spread across Bihar, and it appears to be a much planned, systematic opposition created to target activities.”
“We also see police supporting the perpetrators instead of taking action against them, and the victims do not come forward fearing this bias,” Lal added.
The situation has become so difficult that Christians know not to report the issues to the police because it only makes them more vulnerable.
“After the attack, some of my Christian friends went to Sheohar police station to inform them about the attack,” he said. “But the police said their hands are tied and that they cannot take any action.”
“If I force the police to register cases against the assailants, the [Hindu extremist] Bajrang Dal’s top leaders will not spare me,” Pastor Viswanathan told Morning Star News. “The police officials asked me to be wary as the Hindu militant activists roam freely with guns, and through their videos, I can be easily identified by other RSS [Hindu extremist umbrella group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh]-affiliated groups also.”