A band of extremists flogged a 66-year-old pastor over allegation of forced conversions during a prayer service. The pastor was beaten unconscious by four masked extremists, after they interrupted during the prayer service at a makeshift tent church in Naupur, Jaunpur District, Uttar Pradesh State.
The incident took place on May 22, when Pastor Lalta Ram was conducting a prayer service. The extremists disrupted the prayer service, claiming that he was conducting conversions. Assistant Pastor Vijay Bahadur said: “They further claimed that because of the church and the preaching, all the sorcerers in the area had lost their businesses, as the people no longer believed in them but in Jesus.”
Assistant Pastor Vijay said that the church had to be closed for a short period of two weeks previously when four policemen hooked him and Pastor Ram and asserted that they had been involved in conducting forced conversions.The assailants left Pastor Lalta Ram in an unconscious state, who was rushed to a hospital where he was admitted for five days. Pastor Ram has still not fully recovered from the injuries he has sustained.
He incurred a deep wound on his head and left hand and a fracture in his right hand’ bone. The assailants also attacked Pastor Ram’ wife who had rushed to him while he was being attacked trying to save him, along with 15 other congregants. Consequently, the church had to be closed temporarily but courageous Pastor Ram shows determination to restart his church services as before.
A Christian advocacy group International Christian Concern’ representative William Stark said, in line with the extremist’ point of view Christians or Muslims follow a foreign faith, “they’re defiling India because they’re following a foreign faith.” Hinduism, according to Stark has persistently induced the idea among its adherents from lower castes that “you’re something below human.” Christianity is spreading in India, because it appeals to the down trodden low caste Hindus. “… and then a faith comes that says everybody is created equal, that’s a very attractive message,” Stark explained.