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India: Tribal animists brutally beat pastor who refused to worship their gods

A pastor in India was brutally beaten by tribal animists angered by his refusal to contribute money toward the ritual worship of tribal deities — yet police refused to punish the assailants.


In January, Pastor Lakshman Oraon, a convert from tribal deism to Christianity, was summoned by Jungur village elders, Latehar District in Jharkhand state, Morning Star News reports. The elders demanded that the pastor and other village Christians help fund the ritual worship of tribal deities. When he refused, they became angry. 

When the pastor explained why Christians could not comply due to their faith, the animists, who worship gods based on ancestors, spirits, and nature, replied that his ancestors were tribal priests and that he was a “useless ingrate who adopted a foreign faith and must be taught a lesson.”

Tying the pastor’s hands behind his back, the village leaders kicked him to the floor before the crowd of about eighty followers of tribal deities, he said. They also threatened to expel the Christians from the village. 

Eventually, the mob released the pastor. Seeking justice, the Christians sent petitions to the Station House Officer (SHO) at Manika police station, the police superintendent, and the district collector. The SHO called both parties to the police station and “effected a compromise that we would not file any case against them, and that they will not excommunicate us from the village,” the pastor said. 


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