Four Christian women including a minor girl were dragged out on the street and mercilessly beaten up by religious fanatics in the Indian state of Haryana. The severity of the attack was such that it left one woman with a broken leg, one with stitches to her forehead and two others unconscious with severe head and body injuries.

“I was sitting at my church member-Sushma’s home with my wife and daughter, when all of a sudden, a group of over 15 people stormed into the house and started attacking everyone who was present” said Pastor Rajesh Gupta, who was also injured in the attack.

Speaking to Persecution Relief from the hospital, Sushma told us that for a very long time, her neighbors had been threatening and harassing her and family because of their Christian faith. “They were upset and angry because we refused to participate in local religious events and idol worship and told us that they would soon get rid of us because we did not belong there” she added.

Sushma explained that on the 10th of August the same neighbors broke out into an unnecessary ‘water logging’ dispute with her. “While I spoke to them, one of them even attacked me and pushed me to the ground” she said.

Vijay, Sushma’s husband told Persecution Relief that at around 11pm that night, the police came to their home and told them to come to the station the next day as a complaint had been made against them. “As I had to report to work the next day, Sushma called our Pastor to accompany her to the Police station” Vijay added.

“My wife and I were out on some work with our daughter, but when Sushma called us, we proceeded to the Police Station to support her” said Pastor Rajesh who also explained that they were well aware of the persecution that Vijay and Sushma were facing on account of their Christian faith.

“When we approached the police, they refused to entertain us and told Sushma to return that evening with her husband as they had called the other party as well, in order to reach a compromise. Hence, we proceeded to Sushma’s home” said Pastor Rajesh.

“While we chatted with Sushma and her sister Kusum over a cup of tea, a group of raging young men stormed in and did not bother to see who they were assaulting, they just struck every one they could lay their hands on” said the Pastor.

Speaking to Persecution Relief from the local hospital, a distressed Pastor Rajesh said, “The savage attack has left my wife with a broken leg. The doctor’s have to insert a steel rod to help mend it. My daughter was also attacked and is lying unconscious.”

“The fanatics dragged us out and onto the street and mercilessly beat us with bricks and stones. My sister has a skull injury and is lying unconscious while I have stitches on my head after I was hit with a brick” said Sushma.

Sushma told Persecution Relief that she kept dialing ‘100’ to call the Police who insisted that they were coming but never showed up. She said that the fanatics laughed at her when they seen her calling the Police saying, “We have already bribed them, they will not come. Who is going to help you now?”

In a desperate and battered state, Sushma and the rest went to the Police station themselves, but were in for a shock when the Police outrightly turned them away saying, “Why have you all come here? Please go to the hospital, we cannot help you!”

“Why would a small dispute about water lead to such a vicious attack? Not only to Sushma and her family but even me and my family?” said Pastor Rajesh who believes that the dispute was just an excuse to persecute the Christians.

After being informed about the incident, a Persecution Relief coordinator Joshua Lal rushed to the local hospital to extend help and support to the despairing Christians. “These women have been cruelly and savagely attacked. From a middle-aged woman, to 2 young ladies and a minor girl, all have been severely wounded” he exclaimed.

Between January to July 2020, Persecution Relief has documented 9 religiously motivated hate crimes that have led to death, of which 2 involve rape. From January 2016 to June 2020, Persecution Relief has recorded 2067 cases of Hate crimes against Christians in India of which 293 cases were recorded in the first half of 2020 alone.

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has downgraded India to the lowest ranking, ‘Countries of Particular Concern’(CPC) in its 2020 report. The US State Department ranked India’s persecution severity at “Tier 2” along with Iraq and Afghanistan. Over the past seven years, India has risen from No. 31 to No. 10 on Open Doors’ World Watch List, ranking just behind Iran in persecution severity.

Shibu Thomas is the founder of Persecution Relief


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