Indian pastor sent to coma after severe beating by Hindu extremists over conversion of Banjaras

A pastor in southern India fell into a coma for 48 hours after a group of Hindu extremists beat him while he was on his way home. The attack was to retaliate for his conversion of five Banjara tribal families to the Christian faith a few weeks ago.

(REUTERS / Adnan Abidi)Christians attend a protest against the killings of Christians in Orissa, in New Delhi August 29, 2008.

Speaking to Morning Star News in an interview, 26-year-old Pastor Banothu Sevya said the Hindu extremists who attacked him had threatened to kill him twice in the past for leading five tribal families to Christ. They accused him of forcibly converting people, but he never complained to authorities over the threat.

On Oct. 5, he was on his way home from a worship service when drunken Hindu extremists attacked him in Govindapuram in Telangana state. The masked men pushed him off the motorcycle he was riding and began beating him.

"I didn't see where they came from," Pastor Sevya recounted. "They pushed me off the bike and started beating me with sticks and kicking me. My nose and ears were bleeding. I lost my consciousness."

Pastor Sevya's wife, Banothu Anusha, rushed to the hospital after receiving the news about her husband. Passengers of a bus said there were around 10 men who fled from the scene. She added that the attackers hailed from Jangi Thanda, where her husband had been preaching the Gospel in the last few months.

The Indian pastor had blood clots in his brain, an eye injury, and a damaged eardrum. He said he only survived with the grace of God and mentioned that he had forgiven the people who had attacked him.

Meanwhile in Tamil Nadu State, sources said authorities have ordered for 10 churches to stop holding worship services. Church leaders said they were required to secure permission from the collector's office after Hindu extremists pressured state officials and police to issue the new orders, Morning Star News said in a separate report.

Pastor Johnson Sathyanathan of the Synod of Pentecostal Churches of Coimbatore told the publication that a Christian delegation had already communicated their fears to the Internal Affairs of Tamil Nadu over the order. The state minister has already ordered an investigation into the matter.