INDIA-Tarikere, Chikmagalur: – 30-09-2013 – Pastor Hemachandra Hebal, 39, is in charge of a Gypsy Church at Thudipet A.K. Colony at Tarikere in Chikmagalur Distrrict of Karnatraka. He lives with his wife Elizabeth, 35, and three young children, in a rented building which he also uses as his house church, during the last 5 months. He caters to the spiritual needs of his small congregation of 15 believers.
On 22-09-2013 Sunday morning, while Pastor Hemachandra was having his Sunday Prayer Service, some Hindu fundamentalists came to the church and disturbed the service and drove the believers out of the church. They abused the pastor and said that he was forcibly converting Hindus to Christianity. The next day, accompanied by some other pastors, Pastor Hemachandra went to the Tarikere Rural police Station and lodged a complaint as to what had happened on the previous day in his church. The police asked him to provide all the necessary details about his believers which he gave them on 25-09-2013.
On 29-09-2013, Sunday morning at about 10.30 AM, when the pastor was conducting his Sunday Worship Service, a group of about 25 radical Hindus attacked the church and stopped the prayer service and beat up both Pastor Hemachandra and his wife Elizabeth and then locked them up in the church along with all the members of their congregation, and then they informed the police alleging them of fraudulent and forcible conversion of Hindus to Christianity.
The police came to the spot and shouted at the pastor and then they took both the pastor and his wife to the police station where they were made to sign on blank sheets that they would not continue with their preaching of Christianity and conversion work etc. and that they should vacate the place within 24 hours and if anything untoward were to happen to them, they could not be held responsible for not providing them any protection.
The pastor then visited the Tarikere Government Hospital and got himself treated for the wounds and the bruises which he received when the radicals attacked him earlier in his church. The incident is under investigation by local police.