Gospel for Asia Missionaries Beaten by Mob in India

( [email protected] ) Mar 20, 2009 01:26 PM EDT

Two missionaries were recently beaten by an anti-Christian mob in the state of Himacha Pradesh, located in northwest India.

A group of 30 extremists attacked GFA missionaries Murari Jay and Atul Rajesh on March 14, according to a statement on Thursday.

“[They] took them to the local temple and stripped them naked and made fun of them, took all their Gospel tracts and Bibles and burned them," Danny Yohannan of Gospel For Asia explained, according to Mission Network News. "Then they beat up the missionaries really bad. Then, they took them to the police station and had them arrested."

Murari sustained severe injuries to his back after enduring repeated kicks and Atul suffered acute head trauma, according to Gospel for Asia, an evangelical mission organization based in Carrollton, Texas.

Moreoever, the mob burned everything the missionaries owned.

While the Indian constitution officially grants freedom of religion, the state of Himachal Pradesh has an anti-conversion law to hinder the work of Christian missionaries. According to Yohannan, the missionaries were arrested and the mob was not penalized for their actions.

GFA leaders went to the police station after hearing of the attacks and managed to secure the release of the victims after much discussion.

Both victims were required to return to the police station the next day to clear the case. After investigation, police authorities found non fault in the mob for the unproven beatings. Neither the mob nor the missionaries were charged with any crime.

Despite the attack, Yohannan said that both men are keen to continue spreading the Gospel. The missionaries were even praising Jesus and told GFA leaders that the experience strengthened their faith.

"It was a great privilege to be persecuted for the Gospel of Christ," both missionaries said, according to the mission agency.

Yohannan stated, "They're asking for prayer that they'll get better as soon as possible so they can go back out and share the Gospel with the same people that persecuted them."

"Our missionaries go out with the expectations that they are going to face persecution. So this is nothing new for them. It's just part of the daily sacrifice of sharing the Gospel."

He also said that despite such persecution, more people are receiving the Gospel and more churches are being planted in India.

"I think this is what makes people scared. And sometimes it causes persecution because they don't have the answers," Yohannan said.