As the world’s attention turns to Delhi ahead of the G20 summit, a church in the national capital was attacked and vandalized during Sunday worship, according to media sources, injuring several Christians.
The attack occurred in Delhi’s Tahirpur area, where the mob disrupted prayers and later gathered outside a police station to prevent the filing of a complaint, Indian media outlet The Wire reported.
Members of the Christian community were praying at the Siyyon Prarthna Bhawan when the Hindu nationalists allegedly entered the building, blaring promises of a “Hindu nation” over loudspeakers. The individuals in the mob, who were reportedly holding speakers, blared, “Hindu rashtra banayenge, Jai Shri Ram,” meaning “We will make a Hindu nation, hail Lord Ram.”
The Christians said they were assaulted with sticks by individuals belonging to the Hindu nationalist group Bajrang Dal. “Every Sunday, when we gather to pray in church, we do so in fear — the fear of being attacked,” a Christian man, who was not identified due to security concerns, was quoted as saying.
When Christians went to the GTB Enclave police station to file a complaint, over 100 people from the Bajrang Dal, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) and their parent organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, gathered outside, chanting “Jai Shri Ram” (hail Lord Ram).”
Shivam, an eyewitness, told The Wire that the mob entered the prayer hall without permission and attacked with sticks, injuring many, including women. Three women claimed the Bajrang Dal members beat them. The women said the men also attempted to remove their clothing.
An alleged member of the RSS, identified only as Anmol, questioned why Christians were praying in a Hindu-majority area and accused them of attempting conversions.
Pastor Satpal Bhati expressed despair over the situation, stating that the Christian community lives in constant fear.
The police registered a complaint against the mob under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.
Minakshi Singh, an activist, confirmed the evidence of the attack and raised questions about the assault on women during the prayer.
The United Christian Forum reports a significant increase in attacks on Christians in India since 2014, with 400 incidents identified in the first half of 2023.
The number of violent incidents against Christians has been rising steadily since 2014, with a significant spike observed in 2021 and 2022. In 2021, India experienced its “most violent year” with 486 Christian persecution incidents.
The UCF attributes the high incidence of Christian persecution to “impunity,” criminally threatening and assaulting individuals in prayer.