India (MNN) — An anti-Christian extremist group attacked two
Gospel for Asia missionaries after the missionaries showed a film about Jesus.
The missionaries, Jayant Mehta and Dayanand Tambe, were
attacked late on the night of August 8 as they packed up their
film and audio equipment after they showed the "Man of Mercy" movie in
Maharashtra, India. The screening, which was held at a believer's home, was
deemed successful by GFA as many of the villagers came to watch the film.
After the film concluded, however, a group of about 45 extremists
rushed Mehta and Tambe, beating them and grabbing their film equipment. They then
shoved the men in their van and took them to the police station to have them
arrested for illegal conversion.
According to GFA, "The merciless beating continued until
they reached the police station, where they brought their false complaints
against Jayant and Dayanand."
The group accused the two men of "bribing people to convert
to the Christian faith" and made up names of people who would testify against
Early the next morning, the two missionaries were finally
released from police custody when a GFA leader asked for their discharge.
On August 10, their film gear was returned by the extremist
after the groups claims were falsified by police.
This attack comes after the U.S. Commission on International
Religious Freedom recently added India to a "watch list" of countries "which
have failed to protect its religious minorities adequately," according a BBC
India was included on the list along with counties such as
Afghanistan, Somalia and Cuba.
BBC said the congressional body put India on the list
because of an alarming increase in religious violence. The commission also
cited two instances of anti-Christian and anti-Muslim riots in Orissa and
Gujarat in 2008 and 2002, respectively.
Leonard Leo, the chair of USCIRF, said, "More must be done
to ensure future violence does not occur and that perpetrators are held
accountable," according to BBC.
However, in the case of the Mehta and Tambe, their attackers
were not detained.
While USCIRF usually issues their annual reports on
religious freedom in May, they were delayed in India because the government
refused them visas for the trip, according to BBC.
GFA asked, "Please pray for Jayant's and Dayanand's quick
healing and that they would not be discouraged because of incident. Pray also
for the extremists and the police, that they will come to know the love,
compassion and salvation of Jesus Christ."
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