Father-son pastor duo attacked in India

Father-son pastor duo attacked in India

HYDERABAD, India — A father and son, both pastors, were attacked by hard-line Hindus in India, and one of the victims is defending a Muslim man arrested in the case.

The attack on 28-year-old Daniel Jebraj and his father, 61-year-old Muniyandi Elangoan Jebraj, occurred on July 19 in Tamil Nadu state, India. Five attackers beat the younger man with steel rods, wooden sticks and knives. When his father came to his aid, the attackers beat him too, resulting in injury to his brain.

Christians identified the assailants as members of the Hindu Makkal Katchi, a wing of the Hindu extremists Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in the state. An official denied a religious motive for the attack, calling it an “independent incident.”

Police arrested two people in the beating, one Hindu and an 18-year-old Muslim man, Abdullah Barish. However, Daniel Jebraj is defending Barish claiming police officials are framing him to prevent exposing the case as Hindu extremist violence on Christians.

“Abdullah has no relation to this case. He heard our screams and came and tried to take us to the hospital. He did not beat us,” Daniel Jebraj said.

The attack follows an incident three months ago when area Christians were surrounded by about 150 Hindu extremists after distributing 50,000 gospel tracts. That situation was calmed by police, Daniel Jebraj said. He called the recent attack a “setback for the community,” which has seen Christians growing in numbers and breaking down caste-based barriers.

India ranked 15th on Open Doors’ 2017 World Watch List of countries where Christians experience the most persecution. (MS)