Christian Post | Leah MarieAnn Klett | April 29, 2020
After demolishing a pastor’s house and driving his family into the jungle, tribal animists in central India severely beat the Christian leader, threatening to destroy his vocal cords so he can no longer preach.
Nearly a month after tribal animists expelled the Christian family from Bilood village in Madhya Pradesh state and destroyed their home, tribal animists ambushed Pastor Lalu Kirade as he returned from a grocery store.
Led by a man identified only as Laxman, seven individuals beat, choked, and pelted the pastor with a stone, Kirade told Morning Star News.
“They had sprung on me like a pack of wild dogs,” the pastor recalled. “They told me to call upon my God to come and rescue me.”
“My head began to spin with the sudden strike. Blood started to ooze out of the injury, and I fell on the ground. I heard the men shouting at Laxman’s wife for hitting me with a stone. They said they had planned to hit me in a way that I would not bleed. They scolded the women for not doing as planned.”
Laxman’s niece put her foot on his throat, choking him, as the others held down his hands and legs so he could not move, he said.
“I was gasping for breath and thought that I would die,” Kirade said, adding that Laxman’s niece said, “Call upon your God for help. You pray and preach using your vocal cords, I am going to bring an end to your voice today.”
The assailants hit and kicked him, pulled his ears, dragged him by the hair and uttered profanity about Christianity and Christ, the pastor said, besides robbing him of rupees equivalent to $51.
“The money was given to me as help during this [new coronavirus] lockdown period – it was all that I and my family had to survive upon,” Kirade said.
A passer-by from Bilood village saw the assault and informed local Christians, who arrived at the scene “just in time,” prompting the assailants to flee, Kirade said.
Following the assault, the pastor was left with severe internal injuries and required stitches on his head wound.
“I had swelling on my neck for weeks and could not eat solid food for three days because of pain in my throat,” he said.
In March, a group of tribal animists — also led by Laxman — forced the family out of their home and into the nearby jungle.
According to the pastor, animists, who worship gods based on ancestors, spirits, and nature, entered his property a few days earlier and told the Christians they would be expelled unless they abandoned Christianity.