A mob of about 70 people carrying weapons attacked a group of Christians who were praying at a believer’s home in India’s eastern state of Chhattisgarh this week, burning Bibles and vandalizing furniture, according to a report, which said at least six Christians sustained serious injuries.
The Christians were attending a prayer meeting at the house of a fellow believer in Surguda village in the state’s Bastar District on Monday night when some of the men in the mob surrounded the property and the others entered the house to attack, according to the U.K.-based group, Christian Solidarity Worldwide.
The men, believed to be Hindu nationalists, verbally abused and physically assaulted the Christians, burning Bibles, furniture, bicycles and a motorcycle, CSW reported Thursday, adding that at least six Christians had to be admitted to the hospital due to severe injuries.
“This brutal attack on a prayer meeting is yet another example of the rise in crimes against religious minorities in several Indian states,” CSW’s Chief Executive Scot Bower said. “When private prayer gatherings are seen as soft targets for mob violence it is evident that states are failing to uphold an individual’s right to manifest their faith, which is a central aspect of freedom of religion or belief and protected by the Indian constitution.”
Christians in Chhattisgarh state, the majority of whom are from tribal or indigenous people groups, have witnessed a rise in attacks since last September.
The persecution is taking place amid radical Hindu groups’ campaign to stop the country’s tribal people from converting to Christianity. These groups have been demanding that the government ban those who convert from receiving education and employment opportunities.