Anti-Christian Violence Reported in 3 Indian States

( [email protected] ) May 07, 2009 02:24 PM EDT

Two incidents of assault and one incident of vandalism against Christians and their properties were reported from three Indian states on Wednesday.

According to the Evangelical Fellowship of India, about 30 extremists from a Hindu group attacked a Christian meeting, injuring 10 believers and a five-year-old girl in Mumbai.

The attackers, reportedly from the Swami Narendra Maharaj Sansthan, forcefully entered the prayer meeting at Damodar Hall in Nallasopara (East), and attacked the pastor, children and women. There were over 200 Christians attending the meeting organized by Vasai Taluka Christian Pastors Association.

"After closing the doors and windows of the hall on all sides, the hardline Hindus forced Christians to chant 'Jai Shri Ram' and started beating the believers when they refused to recite the Hindu devotional," reported an EFI correspondent.

"Pastor James Samuel received hospital treatment and had five stitches to his head while about 10 others including a five-year-old child were left with bruises."

The incident led to the arrest of five Hindu extremists who have been charged for rioting.

The evangelical body reported a similar case earlier this month. On May 3, 15 Hindu radicals "attacked an afternoon prayer meeting, burned Bibles and Christian literatures in Bara Koni Area, Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh. "

They also broke up crockery and other household goods and then proceeded to verbally abuse the Christians and threaten them with dire consequences if they continued to gather for Christian meetings.

In another incident of vandalism, suspected religious fanatics in Sidapuram Village in Warangal District of Andhra Pradesh set fire to a church.

According to the All India Christian Council, unidentified persons broke the church gate and attempted to burn the entire church building.

"After an hour, the fire was noticed and the alarm was raised," the Christian council said, adding that the fire had destroyed the furniture, carpet and roof of the church.

The recent attacks are part of ongoing persecution against the Christian minority in India. Violence worsened last August after Christians were blamed for the murder of a Hindu fundamentalist leader even though Maoists claimed responsibility.