A pastor in India said a mob of 300 Hindu extremists terrorized Christian children and threatened to beat them for attending a Sunday school class he was leading, Christian Post reports.
Pastor Selva Raj of Amathur village in India’s Tamil Nadu state told Morning Star News that the attack happened on Nov. 11. The mob of 300 or so radicals destroyed a shed near the worship building before descending upon children in a Sunday school class.
“They took away the Bible storybooks and some song and activity books from the children and tore them into pieces,” Raj told Morning Star News in a piece published on Wednesday. “They scared the children away by telling them that they will be beaten up if they are seen in the church premises ever again.”
The Hindu radicals then pressured both police and landlords to banish the pastor from the village. Despite pressure to leave the village, Raj said he has refused to do so.
“I told them that I am not going to write anything,” he said. “The inspector also told them, ‘If he has done something wrong, you tell us, and we can give him a strong warning to not do it. But we do not have the authority to tell anyone to leave the village.’”
Raj explained that local Hindu leaders have been highly opposed to the presence of Christians in Amathur, and for years have been chasing away other pastors. He vowed to continue offering Bible study classes for the children, no matter the cost.
“I’m ready to become martyr for Christ,” the pastor said. “Until my Lord provides us a building, we will continue serving the Lord. It is fine even if we do not have shelter, we will not stop worshiping Him. We are ready to die for Christ.”
Christians have been attacked, beaten and threatened by Hindu radicals throughout rural areas in India, often falsely accused of trying to forcefully convert other believers. A pastor who leads a congregation in Madhya Pradesh State said in September that 15 families were scared off from going to church due to threats made by Hindu radicals, but they continue to worship Jesus in secret.
“The radicals say they will beat and kill my church members if they continue to attend the services,” Pastor Singh, as the church leader was identified, told International Christian Concern at the time.
“Prior to May this year, around 200 people used to worship regularly in my church,” he added. “But now only 50 to 60 people attend my church on Sunday. They are under tremendous pressure from Hindu radicals.”
In other instances, Christian families have been pressured into converting back to tribal religions. Three families faced such a fate in October in Lisiya village, West Singhbhum District, after Hindu radicals began destroying their homes and threatening to take their land and resources.
“Pastors and Christians from Lisiya and surrounding village churches tried to encourage them to continue in the Christian faith in these testing times,” area resident Subod Sinku said of the difficulties placed upon the Christians.