World News

Christian family beaten and separated from their kids in India

A mob of a 100 tribal people attacked a Christian family with axes, knives and sticks. They forcibly separated them from their children and expelled them from the village for being Christians.

Thirty-five-year-old Aayatu Ram Podiyami had previously been assaulted twice in Gupanpal village, Sukma District, for being a Christian. He managed to escape and hide in the jungle, but his elderly father, Mangu Ram Podiyami, was not fit enough to outrun them. According to Aayatu: “The mob stopped beating him after he passed out, and his assailants thought he was dead. I cannot go back home to see my children. Our assailants are on the watch, eyeing our house, waiting for me to return. God is our only hope. Please pray for us. I can see no way forward.”

Aayatu, his wife and her father have been afraid to return home since the 12th of February. They have two young daughters, aged 7 and 4. Aayatu is the sole surviving son among three siblings. He testified that the tribal leaders ordered two Christian families from Gupanpal and 10 others from another village and instructed them to renounce their faith. When he refused, the mob attacked him: “About 15-20 men chased me for almost a mile. I ran and ran as fast as I could while the men ran after me. I continued to run in the jungle as the men intently searched for me in the woods. I had foot sores for a week after the incident. I was so worried for my father. I knew I had left him behind as a soft target. He is old and frail. He cannot run to save himself as I did. All the while in the jungle, I was not sure if my father survived the assault or was killed.”

His father was released from hospital after receiving care for critical injuries for 16 days, and he is still being treated at a private medical centre.

According to Arun Pannalal, chairman of Chhattisgarh Christian Forum: “The police did not take proper action. Mere talks and words were not enough. Police inaction strengthened the assaulters to redo what they had done earlier, but this time with much brutality. It was a clear attack with the intention to kill. The mild charges imposed by the police show their bias. Despite severe head injuries and Mangu’s critical condition, immediate medical assistance was not provided by the police.”

Thousands of Christians marched in protest in Raipur on the 28th of February. They wished to raise awareness of persecuted Christians and the government’s failure to protect them. They protested violations of basic human rights, targeting of churches, police prejudice and neglect by media that do not report on anti-Christian attacks. 


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