(World Watch Monitor) — Christian families have fled their homes in eastern India after telling police a Hindu nationalist mob had attacked a church fellowship meal, only to be met with attempts to silence them.
Pastor Kasi Ram told World Watch Monitor that only three Christian families remained in the village of Bakel—in Chhattisgarh state, governed by the Hindu nationalist BJP—after a mob physically attacked attendees of a Bible study who were about to eat together.
“The rest have fled from the village in fear of being killed. They are intimidated by the police’s behavior,” he said.
“Over the past one week the police had been telling the Christians that if there should be an FIR [First Information Report] against people who attacked you, there will be a counter FIR against you as well,” the Christians’ lawyer, who asked not to be named for security reasons, told World Watch Monitor. “Every day they [the Christians] are being subjected to some kind of pressure to silence them from taking up the matter before the court.”
The lawyer was speaking after a group of around 35 Christians meeting in Bakel said they were attacked on 5 April by a mob after a Bible study at a house belonging to Emmanuel Free Methodist Church. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh was due to visit the area the following day, ahead of elections this year, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited nearby Bastar District on April 14 amid tight security.