Hindu nationalists beat Christian pastor to force him to worship monkey god

Hindu nationalists in the village of Harmu in India's Jharkhand state attacked a Christian pastor with wooden sticks to force him to worship a popular monkey god, but he continued to adhere to his faith.

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

In an interview with Morning Star News, Pastor Karma Oraon recalled how Hindu extremists in Ranchi District attacked him while he was meditating on the Bible on Christmas Eve with eight believers. One of the assailants even videotaped the incident and asked his companions to circulate the footage, according to sources.

Pastor Oraon said the Hindu nationalists slapped him and told him that he ought to follow the Adivasi indigenous faith rather than Christianity. They threatened to kill him if he refused to renounce his Christian beliefs.

"In those moments when they were kicking and beating me, I felt that even if I die now, the Lord will make the ministry I leave behind fruitful," said Pastor Oraon. "We are just a few gathering in the name of Jesus. He is our strength."

After the incident, Pastor Oraon went to a police station to file a complaint. However, the officers refused to receive his statement and did not file a case against the Hindu attackers.

India currently ranks 11th among the top 50 countries with the worst Christian persecution in Open Doors' 2018 World Watch List. The organization said the rise of radical Hinduism in the country is fueling the violent attacks on believers.

Human rights activist Pastor Joseph D'Souza told CBN News that Hindu nationalists were falsely telling everybody that Christians had taken part in forced religious conversions. He also said that the negative propaganda was dangerous, as the groups that attack minorities were not being brought to justice.

Pastor D'Souza warned that Hindu extremists were also targeting Muslims, Dalits, and even Hindus who do not follow their hardline ideology. Nevertheless, he said the persecution of these minorities have not stopped the church from growing and in fact has made them stronger.