11/02/2016 Washington, D.C.
(International Christian Concern
) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that four Christians, including an elderly couple and a pregnant woman, were brutally beaten by alleged Hindu radicals in the Bastar District of India’s Chhattisgarh State. Due to injuries sustained during the attack, a 60-year-old Christian man died.
The attack took place on October 8 in Kuther village, located in the Bastar District. According to local Christians contacted by ICC, individuals, suspected by locals to be Hindu radicals, broke into the home of Sularam Kashyap and his pregnant wife, Sudri, and severely beat the Christian couple along with Sularam’s elderly parents. As a result of the attack, all four Christians were hospitalized at the Government District Hospital of Jagdalpur.
While in the hospital, the Christian family was visited by an aid worker who attempted to record the family’s testimony on video. This reportedly upset police from the Lahundiguda Police Station, who ordered the Christian family to leave the hospital and return home on October 15. Due to the severity of his injuries and the lack of proper medical treatment, Sukru Kashyap, Sularam’s 60-year-old father, died at home on October 31.
“This is [a] brutal attack on the innocent family for committing no wrong,” a local Christian, who wished to remain anonymous, told ICC. “The Hindu radicals are suppressing the news to make sure it does not get in the media so no one is aware of these incidents.”
According to local Christians, the family was attacked because they refused to denounce their Christian faith. In June 2014, more than 50 villages in the Bastar District, including Kuther, passed resolutions effectively banning the practice of non-Hindu faiths, which the Chhattisgarh High Court later ruled to be unconstitutional. Since June 2014, Hindu radicals have assaulted, threatened, and organized social boycotts against Christians living in the Bastar District, using the debunked resolutions to justify their actions.
As a part of the social boycott against Christians in Kuther village, local Hindus blocked Sularam from burying his father in the village’s graveyard on October 31. On November 1, Sularam was able to bury his father in the village graveyard, but only after police intervention.
William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “The persecution of Christians in the Bastar District continues to shock the conscience. Assaults and threats have become almost commonplace over the past two years. In many villages where social boycotts are taking place, Christians are not allowed to collect water from village wells, cultivate their fields, or engage in commerce. They are fined if they talk to a Hindu and are even barred from burying their dead. This siege-like persecution has one purpose: to drive out Christianity. It’s shocking that this situation has been allowed to continue, especially since Article 25 of India’s constitution provides full religious freedom to its citizens. Without enforcement, the right this article enshrines is simply words on paper.”