By Santosh Digal, Asia Correspondent BosNewsLife reporting from India
NEW DELHI, INDIA (BosNewsLife)– Evangelical Christians in southeastern India were due to worship Sunday, January 29, amid heightened tensions after Hindu hardliners attacked a pastor and church members, representatives said.
The pastor, who was only identified as Pastor Kiran, was among those attacked on January 17 in Nalgonda district of India’s Andhra Pradesh state while trying to visit a church member, known as Ms. Rachel, said the All India Christian Council (AICC), a major advocacy group.
“Hindu fundamentalists” were angry as they saw the pastor and fellow church members “carrying some Christian literature”, said the AICC, which has close contacts with the Christians.
Hindus allegedly started to attack the pastor and attacked church members accusing them of forcible conversations”, a charge often used against devoted Christians. Evangelical Christians have denied they accusation, saying the Bible teacher that believing in Jesus Christ is a free, personal decision.
There were no reports of serious injuries, but Christians said Hindus took the pastor to a local police station where he was apparently briefly. In a statement distributed by church umbrella group Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) police said “no case” had been filed against the church pastor.
The EFI, a member of the larger World Evangelical Alliance and linked to the United Nations, said it had urged its supporters to write to the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradeshm, Shri Kiran Kumar Reddy, “appealing to him to safe guard the rights of the minority communities.”
Evangelicals also urged him “to give protection to churches against attacks and to take immediate action against the perpetrators of violence.” It was not clear which organization was behind the violence.
Attacks against Christians have increased across India. Hindu nationalist groups have expressed concerns over the spread of Christianity in India, a mainly Hindu nation.