Four Christian missionaries targeted and brutally assaulted in Jharkhand

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Four missionaries including a pastor and his wife from Gospel Echoing Missionary Society (GEMS) were brutally assaulted in a village near Garhwa district of Jharkhand.

Pastor P. Sarvanan and his companion P. Andrew are admitted in a GEMS hospital since November 21, after complaints of severe headache and dizziness, informed Andrew to Christian Today.

“Doctors have done a head CT-Scan on both of us, so that they can treat us accordingly,” said Andrew from the hospital where he was hospitalised along with Sarvanan, while speaking to Christian Today on November 23.

A church member named Shanti, invited Sarvanan – the Pastor of GEMS church in Garhwa city to invite her house and pray for her family.

Fifty-four-year-old Sarvanan along with his wife Rosy, 50, Andrew – an administrative staff at the GEMS school located in the GEMS campus and Justin (only identified by his first name) – an associate of Sarvanan reached Shanti’s house in their private car at 5 in the evening of November 15.

“Some Hindu extremists in the village spotted our car and noticed that it is a Christian vehicle – because there is a ‘cross’ hanging along the rear-view mirror next to the wind-shield, they followed us. They came and spotted us and the house we were visiting and went back and reported to the others,” said Andrew.

Within 10 minutes of their arrival, a mob of about 40 young men, most of them drunk, gathered outside Shanti’s house and began to create a ruckus.

They demanded that the Christians be handed over to them, but the host quickly latched the main door from inside, making sure that nobody enters, narrated Andrew.

When the host refused to open the door, the mob warned the host to send the guests out or else they would set the house on fire.

“Fearing that our resistance will result in a bigger issue, we decided to walk out,” said Andrew.

The mob pounced on Sarvanan, Andrew and Justin and began to assault them black-and-blue.

“They hit us with whatever their hands could find. They punched us, slapped us, boxed us and kicked us with their legs. Many of them were carrying wooden sticks and they beat us with them. Others picked up stones and bricks that were lying nearby and hit us with them,” said Andrew.

When Shanti and Rosy intervened to save the men, they too were beaten, said Andrew.

The mob snatched the phones of the Christians and looted their car.

“Our car was filled with a lot of stuff that we had purchased for our house and for the church. Everything was looted by the people. The car had goods worth Rs 20-30 thousand,” said Andrew.

After hearing the news of the attack on Sarvanan and Rosy, Vimala Johnson, younger sister of Rosy and a GEMS missionary herself, rushed to visit the family.

As Sarvanan was not in a condition to speak to Christian Today, Vimala Johnson spoke on his behalf and narrated the shocking and brutal incident to Christian Today.

Johnson said that her sister Rosy was in great pain. “She is not able to sleep because of pain in her body due to the internal injuries that she sustained,” said Johnson.

Shanti is not only the sole Christian in her family but also in the entire village. She has been attending church for the past 3 years.

Andrew said that the mob including the other Hindu leaders visited Shanti’s house later and forced her to reconvert to Hinduism.

“A Hindu ceremony was conducted and they forced me to recant my Christian faith and accept Hinduism,” said Shanti on a call to Andrew. Shanti added that the situation in the village was quite tensed and that the Hindu extremists had warned her to ask the Christians to not approach the police to register a complaint otherwise they will ostracise Shanti’s family from the village and they will have to live the rest of their lives that way.

“The persecution in Jharkhand is at its peak,” said Johnson, who is a missionary herself. “The attack on my sister and the team is the fourth in the last 2 months,” she added.

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