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(Morning Star News) – Violence against Christians in India hit a new level on Tuesday (March 3) when Hindu extremists ran their motorcycles over a key evangelical leader after beating him, sources said.
Armed with bamboo rods and a thick metal chain with a heavy lock on it, the 10 Hindu nationalists in Sehore, Madhya Pradesh state beat Isaac Paulose, 48, and then ran their five motorcycles over him, fracturing one of his ribs, said Uttar Kumar Deep, pastor of Grace Fellowship Church of CEA (Christian Evangelistic Assemblies), Sehore.
Paulose, an elder at the church and Madhya Pradesh coordinator of the New India Evangelistic Association, was attacked shortly after dropping his 5-year-old son off at school that morning, Pastor Deep said.
Paulose was in his car when a Hindu nationalist on a motorcycle stopped him and told him to get out, he said.
“Unaware of his intentions and without a slightest of suspision, Isaac stepped out,” Pastor Deep said. “Suddenly others joined the biker, and all of them began to beat Isaac with bamboo logs and a chain.”
Paulose’s wife, Elizabeth Isaac, said he was stopped no more than 300 meters from their home.
“The moment he stepped out of his car, the others joined in, and they began to beat him,” Isaac said. “Accusing him of ‘converting people,’ they beat him with bamboo logs and a thick metal chain with a lock attached to its end. They scorned and ridiculed him, daring him to continue to convert people.”
Hindu extremists routinely attack Christians for “conversion,” though conversion is legal in India, and also routinely raise false accusations against them of illegal “forcible conversion.” They frequently make no distinction between the two.
The assailants threatened to kill the pastor before leaving, Pastor Deep said.
“When he lay on the ground half-dead, they drove their bikes, five in number, one after another over him, injuring him further and breaking his rib,” Pastor Deep told Morning Star News. “They scorned and taunted him, asking him to call on the name of Jesus. They also threatened to kill him if he continues to ‘convert’ people.”
Paulose also sustained injuries in his head and legs and hand, dislocating three fingers, sources said.
The assailants fled only after passers-by noticed and came to Paulose’s aid, Pastor Deep said. He said Paulose did not recognize any of those who assaulted him.
Paulose was rushed to a local government hospital, and then later that same day transferred to Bhopal Fracture Hospital, 26 miles from Sehore, in order to receive appropriate treatment, sources said.
On Friday (March 6) he underwent two surgeries on his left hand, which sustained multiple fractures, his wife said.
“He has received two stitches at the back of his head, and one stitch on his forehead,” Isaac said. “One of his ribs is fractured, for which the doctors said that nothing can be done and that he will need to take a lot of rest for the rib to heal by itself.”
Hemant Lal, a Christian leader from Bhopal, said Paulose was honored to suffer in Christ’s name.
“Brother Isaac’s condition was very bad when he was brought to Bhopal,” Lal told Morning Star News. “I was amazed at his faith. He told me he was not scared, and that there will be difficulties in doing the Lord’s work, but that he was glad that he suffered for the name of Jesus.”
Peace and Strength
Sehore police registered a First Information Report (FIR) on Tuesday (March 3) against unidentified assailants under the Indian Penal Code for criminal intimidation, damage, wrongful restraint and voluntarily causing hurt.
On Thursday (March 5) they added a section pertaining to attempted murder, Pastor Deep said.
Pastor Deep said Paulose does not engage in forced conversion.
“Such incidents should not happen with us; we are peace-loving people,” Pastor Deep said. “We do not get violent, and accusing someone of [forced] conversion without any reason and proof is not a good thing.”
Thanking all who have prayed and continue to pray for them, Paulose’s wife said she was initially shaken but is now at peace.
“Initially, I was very troubled and in a state of shock after seeing Isaac in this condition, but later the Lord gave me peace and strength,” she told Morning Star News. “It is our privilege to suffer for the Lord, and we will continue to work for the Lord. I am sure that God will reward us.”
India is ranked 10th on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. The country was 31st in 2013, but its position has worsened since Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014.
VOP Note: Please pray for this brother, his family and Christians in India.
(Voice of the Persecuted) NIGERIA – Francis Emmanuel, a Christian and a carpenter, was attacked by a gang of young men, believed to be Muslims,with machetes and daggers at a restaurant in Kakuri, Kaduna. They accused him for not fasting.
While eating his lunch, Emmanuel claimed the young men approached him because he was not fasting. He nearly lost his right arm trying to protect himself and sustained deep wounds from a machete on various parts of his body. He also nearly lost his eye. Relaying the ordeal to journalists from his hospital bed, Emmanuel said,
“I went to buy wood to do some work. When I came back, I bought food to eat. As I was eating, about six Hausa boys came and asked me whether I was a Muslim or a Christian. I did not answer them. They asked me why I was not fasting. I told them that I am not a Muslim. Before I knew it, one of them slapped me. As I stood up, the rest came and surrounded me and started attacking me with knives. I didn’t know them. Nobody could come to my aid because of the type of dangerous knives they were carrying. They used cutlasses, scissors, and knives. I became unconscious; I don’t even know who brought me to the hospital.”
Sunny Oibe, Director of national issues of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) described the perpetrators as enemies of the people. He said,
“The attack on the carpenter for allegedly eating when Muslims were fasting goes to show the level of intolerance of some people, particularly some of our Muslims. “Even if somebody refuses to fast, nobody has the right to embark on such animalistic behavior of attempting murder.”
“We, in CAN, will ask the security agencies to ensure that this matter is not swept under the carpet. The perpetrators should be brought to book to serve as a deterrent to others because the laws of this country forbid taking the lives of another. “The government should therefore live up to its bidding and bring the perpetrators and their sponsors to book.”
Mr. Femi Falana, a human rights lawyer said the government should have acted quickly to arrest the perpetrators to serve as a deterrent to others.
“It is already too late now. The perpetrators should have been immediately arrested and arraigned to serve as a deterrent to others.” source
Emmanuel Ogebe, a Nigerian human rights lawyer now living in the U.S. shared on social media,
“A couple of years ago, a retired Christian general from the north said something that has haunted me. Speaking to an Igbo guy, he said, “if my people see you and I eating corn in my village during the Ramadan fast, they would kill me and leave you alone because we are not permitted to be Christians. When I read the story [of the recent attack], I realized things have gotten far worse in the last two years. Even non northerners are now being attacked for eating during the fasting even when they are not Muslim!”
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