Hindu radicals disguised as Christians beat pastor and pregnant wife, burn church materials

Hindu radicals have pretended to be Christians to gain entry to a church in Bastar, Chhattisgarh to beat a pastor and his pregnant wife.

(Reuters/Danish Siddiqui)A protester holds a placard during a rally by hundreds of Christians against recent attacks on Churches nationwide, in Mumbai. February 9, 2015.

The two Hindu radicals wielding sharp weapons said they were members of a Christian community who wanted to pray inside the church in the village of Karanji Matagudi. Once inside the church, they attacked Pastor Deenbandhu Sameli and his pregnant wife and set the Bible, furniture, and other materials on fire, according to PTI.

Pastor Sameli has reportedly filed a complaint with the police, and Bastar SP RN Dash said he immediately went to the Church and assigned a policeman to guard the place that night. He also assured that the assailants will be arrested soon.

However, Chhattisgarh's Christian Forum president Arun Pannalal alleged that the authorities are just covering up the incident because the workers of Bajrang Dal were the ones responsible for the attack. He also said this was already the third time that a Christian Church was attacked in the region.

Pannalal said the attackers brought a knife, sword, hammer, and petrol with them, and tried to burn the pastor and his wife, but they were able to escape.

Just last month, Fox News reported that Hindu nationalists have become the leading source of Christian persecution in India. In the first six weeks of 2016 alone, the number of religion-motivated attacks against Christians has reached 26.

International Christian Concern (ICC) president Jeff King told Fox News that the number of attacks carried out by Hindu radicals increased because they feel bolder under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration.

"They are wolves in sheep's clothing," said King. "There has been an increase in attacks because these nationalists feel emboldened with [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi in power," he added.

In many of the violent incidents, the local police did not do anything to stop the attacks. On Jan. 29, a mob composed of more than 30 Hindu radicals stormed and dragged a Catholic priest and three church officials out of their car and beat them. Despite their cries for help, police officers did nothing at that time. The four victims ended up in the hospital, with the priest in critical condition.

In line with these incidents, ICC and other humanitarian groups have called on Modi to stop the rising Hindu nationalism in India. King said Modi's silence on the issue is tantamount to approval of Christian persecution in the country.