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Hindu Radicals Force Pastor to Flee Village After Series of Attacks

By ICC’s India Correspondent

04/19/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Chensingh Vasunia, a 26-year-old pastor, was forced to flee his village of Kondri, located in India’s Madhya Pradesh state, after a series of devastating attacks by Hindu radicals on his home and church. Beginning on March 16, the attacks left two of Pastor Chensingh’s church members seriously injured and his house burned to ashes.

“It was a horrible scene in the house church,” Pastor Chensingh told International Christian Concern (ICC). “An aggressive mob of Hindu radicals forced themselves into the house where we were praying. They started to beat everyone.”

Describing the March 16 attack as devastating, Pastor Chensingh recalled the scene that unfolded at one of the house churches he leads in Aampani, a village near Kondri, “The situation turned uncontrollable. Blood spilled all over the little room in a dim light.”

“I heard someone in the crowed saying, ‘Kill the pastor,’” Pastor Chensingh continued. “I felt very frightened. Sensing the danger, I, along with five others, left the house and ran to the nearby forest.”

“We were chased by some of the attackers for about two kilometers in the dark,” Pastor Chensingh said. “They chased us until they lost the visibility of us.”

“The experience in the forest that night was scary,” Pastor Chensingh told ICC. “But, God was with us as He was with Daniel in the lion’s den.”

“The next morning, we returned to [my home village of] Kondri,” Pastor Chensingh continued. Pastor Chensingh has served as the pastor of Shalom Mission Church in Kondri for the past eight years. Located approximately 75 miles northeast of the state capital of Bhopal, Pastor Chensingh’s church consists of merely 35 worshippers.

“The experience in the forest that night was scary,” Pastor Chensingh told ICC. “But, God was with us as He was with Daniel in the lion’s den.”

“After hearing about the attack in Aampani and how we fled through the forest, Christians from Kondri suggested I flee the village before Hindu radicals attacked us there,” Pastor Chensingh said. “Their main fear was that I was the main target of the Hindu radicals as I was a pastor.”

After agreeing to flee with his family to a nearby village, Pastor Chensingh was shocked to discover that the radicals were still targeting him. “Four days after the attack in Aampani, I received a phone call at around 2:00 in the morning from a church member in Kondri,” Pastor Chensingh told ICC. “It was shocking to hear that my house was on fire.”

“As expected, the radicals went to my house looking to kill me,” Pastor Chensingh explained. “When they didn’t find me there, they set fire to the house.”

“Everything in the house including household things like clothes, kitchen utensils, and the yearlong crops that we had stored to sell later were destroyed,” Pastor Chensingh said. “Although I am a full-time pastor, I worked in the field for a living, and the support was barely sufficient.”

Unsatisfied with burning Pastor Chensingh’s house down, the Hindu radicals also filed a false case of forced conversion against Pastor Chensingh. “The situation is such that I cannot go back to Kondri village as a false case was registered against me that I was involved in forced conversion,” Pastor Chensingh explained. “The police are looking for me to arrest. On the other side, the Hindu radicals would not spare me. If their anger is enough to lead them to burn my house to ashes, they wouldn’t hesitate to kill me.”

Facing these difficult circumstances, Pastor Chensingh fled further away from Kondri to the village of Jhabua, approximately 300 miles away. Although safe for now, Pastor Chensingh’s future is still uncertain. “I am willing to face the trial by the law of the land, but the law itself has never been implemented in a fair and just manner,” Pastor Chensingh explained. “The police themselves act in favor of Hindu radicals. It has nearly been a month since the attack and things have gotten worse with so many unanswered questions. I trust that God has His best for us as we look into the future.”

Sadly, there are an untold number of similar stories of persecution happening across India. In a recent report released by the Evangelical Fellowship of India, more than 350 incidents of Christian persecution were recorded in 2017. An additional 60 incidents have already been documented in 2018. As the number and intensity of these incidents continues to rise, it is important to remember the individual Christians, such as Pastor Chensingh, that these incidents affect.