Hindu extremists recently tortured, beat and chased off from their homes 29 Christians who refused to deny their faith in Jesus Christ and convert to Hinduism in India. Christianity is expanding in India along with Hindu persecution of Christians.
The same attackers also destroyed several homes of Christians, forcing the occupants to flee their village of Katholi, reported The Daily Express.
Christianity is India's third-largest religion with nearly 30 million followers, nearly 3 percent of India's population, reports Christian Today.
Open Doors charity sources indicate extremists insisted one of the Christian's group leaders in Katholi attend a specially convened meeting with the other Christians. When the Christians refused to convert, they were all beaten up, including women and children. The group fled from the area, and tried to return four days later, according to local sources, but were again driven off by hostile villagers who made death threats.
Human rights groups asked government officials to step up its protection of Christians and other religious minorities, though police often are accused of not doing enough to help the victims and refusing to punish the guilty parties, reports The Christian Post.
To that end, Katholi police reportedly ordered the Hindu radicals to stop the most recent attack, but Christians in the village continued to be threatened even after the torture incident.
This is just one of an increasing number of stories of persecution coming out of India. Open Doors representatives indicate Hindu extremists have been attacking Christians more frequently and violently. Sources believe this type of religious persecution has increased by 34 percent since 2013.
"Christians are also finding they are prevented from getting certain jobs, buying land or developing land in certain areas and even distributing Christian literature has led to arrests in cities like Delhi," Open Doors locals stated, as reported by Christian Today.
"The villagers accused them, saying - because of you our god and goddess are fleeing from our village. When they refused to forsake Christ, they began to beat them. Beating them, they drove them toward their houses and threw out their belongings."
Open Doors is supporting Christians who are victims of violence in India through the work of local churches and partner organizations. The charity provides emergency medical fees, clothing, food rations, help with housing and trauma care.
In May, a mob of nearly 500 extremists attacked a Protestant church in Jabat, with radicals throwing stones at Christians for allegedly damaging a nationalist flag outside the church.
"RSS activists [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the Hindu ultra-nationalist paramilitary group ed], the BJP and Bajrang Dal [youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, VHP] led by former district chief, threw stones at members of the community, attacked our women and broke the church lamps," pastor Emmanuel Ariel said.
"All this happened before the eyes of the police officers, who stood by as silent spectators."