India (MNN) — Three separate attacks on Christians in Karnataka, India are proof that persecution is escalating in the area. Voice of the Martyrs-Canada's Glenn Penner says persecution previously wasn't such an issue in the area, but it has increased in the last year.
On the 4th of July, 16 members of a Hindu militant group attacked and beat Dyamappi Chalawadi and his wife after forcibly entering their home. The attack took place outside, after the militants dragged the couple out of their home. "We will kill you and your husband if you continue your Christian prayers," the militants shouted at Chalawadi's wife after punching her in the back and pulling her hair.
The same day, another militant group attacked two pastors on their way home from a meeting in Belthur. Militants accused the men of converting Hindus to Christianity by force. Later, 50 others joined in the attack which went on for nearly an hour. The militants didn't leave before threatening the men with death if they ever returned to Belthur.
Four days later, July 8th, two Christian workers in Bangalore were beaten by 10 Hindu militants. The men were dragged out of the house they were in, paraded half-naked to a police station, and arrested on charges of "hurting religious feelings" and "creating enmity between religious communities." The men have since been released on bail.
Penner says Christians and missionaries are not often stopped by these kinds of attacks. "For those who are going to share the Gospel, they're going to share the Gospel whether they get attacked or not. Usually that's not the determining factor. But, of course, it's difficult for their families, and it's difficult for them as well," said Penner.
For radicals, the growth of the church is a threat. Penner said, "Hindu leaders are quite alarmed at the growth of the church. Many people are coming to Christ so they're trying to stop the spread of the Gospel through the intimidation of Christian leaders and evangelists."
Penner says there is hope for the militants. "One of the most wonderful things is how those who are persecutors can come to faith through the faithful witness of His people as they respond lovingly and peaceable to those who would seek to do them harm."