India (MNN) ― 25 Christians were severely beaten by Hindu attackers in the central Indian city of Bhopal.
Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India confirms the attack took place during a private prayer meeting on Saturday. A mob, armed with hockey stick-like clubs, broke into a private residence shortly after a group of Christians (men, women and children) began a prayer meeting.
Of those injured in the attack, eight were injured seriously enough to require medical attention, five of whom remain hospitalized. The attack was the fourth incident in as many days in Madhya Pradesh state.
President Dave Stravers spoke with us from India. Christians have been under pressure Madhya Pradesh state for some time. He says they've been monitoring this high profile incident closely. "The Christians here are quite positive about the response. It's one of the first times that we've found that a public attack against Christians there seems to be a rather widespread public condemnation of the attack."
Media coverage fell on the side of the Christians. In fact, the message of the stories, notes Straver, was that 'this was not acceptable in a country with religious freedom, to attack people in their own home, and worshipping their own God.'
The Minorities Commission, similar to the U-S' Civil Rights Commission, on Monday, publicly condemned the attack. Stravers explains what makes this different from other attacks is this one took place in a private home, against a public figure (the pastor of a well-respected church), in broad daylight.
While it is disconcerting that it happened, ministry will continue. Stravers says, "We're praying that Christians will be emboldened because there's no question that the attack was carefully planned. No one is taking any stand against the Christians which is quite unusual. So whoever did this, they're really being marginalized, which is a very interesting reaction."