A radical Hindu mob beat a Christian pastor and his friend on their way to prayer in an Indian village. The pastor has nevertheless vowed to remain strong in his commitment to follow Jesus Christ.
"No matter what the cost is, for following Jesus and serving him, I will live for Him alone," said pastor Gunsingh, according to International Christian Concern.
ICC, which reports on the persecution of believers around the world, noted that Gunsingh and his friend, Mansingh, were on their way to host prayer services when as many as 25 Hindu radicals stopped them.
"They asked us where we were going ... when I told them that I was going to conduct [a] prayer meeting in the village, that's when they got furious and started to beat us with sticks and stones," the pastor said.
"Someone from the back hit me hard on my head; I fell to the ground, even before I could get up, each one [took] turns to hit me and Mansingh using the wooden stubs, while others used stones."
Gunsingh said that his eye was bloodied from the blows, while Mansingh lost complete hearing in one ear.
"Mansingh [and I] were so helpless even to protect ourselves in defense from the hands of these Hindu radicals," the pastor said.
The radicals further damaged the Christians' motorbike and emptied the gas tank, making it difficult for them to seek help.
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The two men walked back home by themselves, pushing the damaged motorbike, but decided against reporting the incident to police.
"I knew what [would] happen if I [went] to police station, they would further harass me and Mansingh for the kind of work that I was involved in," the pastor said, pointing to other cases of persecution of Christians in India.
The attack has apparently scared Christians in the region, with more than 70 believers from Kadhalkogaom halting their participation at Christian gatherings of any kind.
Indian pastors have been beaten and even murdered on a number of occasions before. CCTV footage from July captured two youths on a motorcycle shooting dead 50-year-old pastor Sultan Masih as he was standing outside his Temple of God Church near Ludhiana.
The killing prompted protests from relatives of the victim, who took to the streets to demand a response from police officials.
Besides attacks by radicals, Christians have also suffered due to controversial anti-conversion bills. An anonymous local pastor in Ranchi told ICC in August that new restrictions in the state of Jharkhand will stop Christian witness and "ruin the lives of people."
"The BJP, having the power both at the national level and the state, wants to implement its Hindutva ideology. This bill will further divide the people of Jharkhand, particularly divide the tribal people who lived in unity for ages," the pastor added, referring to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.