A pastor who was brutally beaten for sharing the gospel at a large outreach and Gospel event in India has asked Christians across the globe to pray for a restoration of peace in the country.
Pastor Harjot Singh was attacked by hooligans who lay in wait for him during an all seated Gospel outreach in Daabli Rathan the largest village in Hanumangarh District, Rajasthan on 16th August 2017.
His wife Arvinderjot who ran to the local police and got them to respond immediately, some of the assailants were arrested and stopped from hurting many others. Arvinderjot was also slapped several times during the attack that was organised to intimidate Christians in an increasingly intolerant India.
When the men were arrested police identified them as members of Hindu Nationalist group ‘Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’ (RSS), a group that was banned twice under the British Raj and has been banned three times by incumbent Governments of India, but is enjoying a resurgence under the regime of President Narendra Modi a known supporter.
Pastor Harjot, said: “Before BJP Party there was a great peace in our nation, but since the election of President Modi a known member of RSS, intolerance towards non-Hindus has increased significantly.
“The attack on me was meant to stop me from preaching but nothing can stop me form fulfilling the calling of God. It is not for me to seek vengeance I have my Lord Jesus who will be the lone arbitrator for heaven.
“I will pray these men that undertook this attack repent of their sins and learn the truth about Jesus, only then can they enjoy eternal life and bring peace on this earth too – through Him.”
Pastor Naresh Paul lead officer for British Asian Christian Association in India, attended the home of Pastor Harjot Singh and shared a time of prayer and counselling. Pastor Harjot had not received any proper treatment at the hospital in Rajasthan, so Pastor Naresh and other church leaders have contributed towards proper health assessment and treatment in Jalandhar.
Pastor Naresh said: “Pastor Harjot is recovering rapidly and is in good spirits. God is helping to heal both the emotional and physical pain he suffered from this attack.
“I attended a pastors and leaders conference in Jammu and Kashmir and there we prayed for Pastor Harjot and for a return to the peace we enjoyed in India till recent years.
“These attacks remind us all that we must put our trust in God only he has the power to save.”
Wilson Chowdhry Chairman of the British Asian Christian Association, said: “Growing Hindu nationalism in India is being ignored and reports of violence against Christians goes largely ignored by western media. This worrying trait of unopposed hatred can only serve to espouse global polarisation.”
Referring to the anti-conversions laws that have been adopted by some states in India, after failing to be ratified Indai-wide, he added: “A nation that supports anti-conversion laws that prevent people converting to any faith barring Hinduism is one in contradiction to the human rights conventions it has ratified. Such protectionism for deities makes no sense. Why would a divine being need man-made laws for protection?
“The Indian Government should be approached by the UN and western powers on the clear contravening of international laws. Citizens of all faiths residing in India should be entitled to laws that do not discriminate and that offer mutual safety.”
Attacks on Christians are led by Hindu nationalists acting largely with impunity a growing concern since the election of President Narendra Modi in 2014. Just over 2% of the country’s population is Christian, and nearly 80% of Indians are Hindu.
Since the election of Modi national and provincial authorities tacitly permit persecution of a deprived Christians in India. Religious nationalists feel empowered under Modi who as a teenager joined Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh a known Hindu fascist group whose main aim is to turn India into a Hindu superpower and whose most revered alumni is Nathuram Godse the fanatic who assassinated Ghandi.
Mr Modi’s political party Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) once called a three-day strike after alleging Pakistan’ secret services were responsible for the death of 58 Hindu pilgrims in a burning train carriage – a claim that was unsubstantiated. The bloodiest anti-Muslim pogrom in modern history ensued in which Hindu men dragged wives and daughters on to the streets to be raped. It is estimated that between 1,000 and 2,000 people were killed and tens of thousands found themselves homeless.
Religious nationalists increasingly attempt to forcibly convert non-Hindus to their dominant faith, willing to use violence at the drop of a hat, when community discrimination and non-violent oppression fail to impose their religious beliefs on minority Christians.
Christians face huge socioeconomic problems a consequence of decades on uninhibited oppression, many came from the lowest social class the Dalits and as such have always been an easy target for Hindu fundamentalists.