INDIA – Police in India File Charges against Pastors for Refuting False Account of Attack, Sources Say

Morningstar News | March 21, 2019

Siddhivinayak Temple in Siddhatek, Maharashtra state, India. (Wikipedia, Borayin Maitreya Larios)
Siddhivinayak Temple in Siddhatek, Maharashtra state, India. (Wikipedia, Borayin Maitreya Larios)

HYDERABAD, India (Morning Star News) – Three pastors in western India have been criminally charged in retaliation for refuting a false account of a Hindu extremist attack on six Christians that left a teenage girl unconscious, sources said.

Three of the six Christians beaten in Maharashtra state this month were also charged in retaliation for reporting the assault that left them with injuries requiring hospital treatment, said pastor Pandharinath Bhagya Gowri, one of the accused church leaders.

Police who took exception to Pastor Gowri and two other pastors trying to correct a false report about the beating later charged them with the same accusations filed against the assailants, such as house trespass with intent to assault, even though the church leaders were not even present during the attack, he said.

Hard-line Hindus in Bandhan village, Palghar District in February had cut the Christians’ water supply and warned them that worse would happen if they did not renounce their faith, Pastor Gowri told Morning Star News. On March 1 a mob of Hindu extremists showed up in the neighborhood of three Christian families, burst into their homes and started beating and kicking them, he said.

“At least six Christians including women and children got injured in the attack,” Gowri told Morning Star News.

Teenage Christian Sapna Dodhade was beaten unconscious, and the Hindu extremists continued striking her and the five others even after they fell limp, the pastor said.