On October 3, around 13 attacks on churches were reported from across the country. Most of them were perpetrated by radicals alleging ‘conversion’.
Over 200 radicals vandalized a local church at Solanipuram town in Roorkee and thrashed 10-15 people who were praying in a worshipping place. Twenty-one-year-old Rajat was severely beaten up and is fighting for his life. The church pastor had died of corona last year.
His wife Mrs Sadhna Potter was running the church. The mob turned violent as they entered the church premises and shouted slogans of ‘Vande Matram’ and ‘Jai Shree Ram’. The women ran for their life, but were pulled down by their hair and beaten up. The crowd looted the church belongings and fled before the police arrived.
Next day a counter FIR was filed against the church alleging conversion. Christian leaders met the police officers and the Chief Minister. The CM pacified them and assured a fair investigation. Alliance Depending Freedom (ADF) is providing legal assistance to the victims.
Christians around the area are living in fear.
According to Surendra Pokhal of EFI, initially the police were hesitant to register the complaint. But, with the intervention of human rights groups, the police were forced to register an FIR and investigate. The FIR has been lodged under IPC Sections 296, 395, 323, 504, 506, and 427 which deal with disturbing a religious assembly, dacoity, voluntarily causing hurt and criminal intimidation.
The Bhim Party has challenged the Bajrang Dal to face it head on if they take the law in their hands. Mahendra Singh of Bhim Party said the right-wing groups will have to pay a price if anything happens to the boy who is struggling for his life after the bashing. He alleged that the Bajrang Dal is being paid to create such nuisance and destroy the communal harmony in the country.
In another incident, Charlie John (62), Vishal Parashuram (24) and Keval Ram (29) were arrested in Rampur, Himachal Pradesh, on the charges of disturbing peace while they were distributing Christian literature. An FIR was filed on the complaint of one Kartik Swamy and the case was filed under Section 295-A of IPC. The three accused were produced before the Magistrate on September 29 and were remanded to police custody for six days. They were granted bail on October 4.
Charlie says, “I had an opportunity to share the Gospel with the interrogating police officers. The Bible verse in Luke 12:11-12 was fulfilled in giving us the words to speak before the police and the court. The police officer testified, ‘we know you are speaking the truth.’ Also, I got an opportunity to share the Word of God when the media channels enquired about our stand.”
As per the Evangelical Fellowship of India’s Religious Liberty Commission (EFIRLC), there were 13 incidents of attacks on churches on the same day. They were reported from Maharajganj, Jaunpur, Hathras, Azamgarh, and Bijnore districts in Uttar Pradesh; Mahasamund and Bhilai in Chhattisgarh; Karnal in Haryana; Haridwar in Uttarakhand; Hoshangabad in Madhya Pradesh; and in Delhi.