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Indian house church pastor doesn't fear persecution anymore

by Jordan Hilger, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - A house church pastor in eastern India was accosted in his home by Hindu extremists while praying, leading to severe injuries for his whole family and accusations of witchcraft.

Pastor Basant Kumar Paul, who once was involved as a leader in the radical paramilitary arm of the Hindu nationalist movement known as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, felt his nose pinched and his mouth covered as someone approached him from behind early in the morning on November 15 and began choking him to death.

Soon a mob of 8 Hindu extremists emerged from the shadows of the house, a police office among them aiding and abetting the break-in, and each member of Paul's family, including his 68 year-old mother, was ruthlessly beaten as they tried to help each other withstand the assault.

A crowd of 200 people materialized but stood idly by for fear of incurring the ire of the extremists, who gained reinforcements from 15 to 20 more of their local relatives as the attack went on.

"I have become immune to persecution now," said Pastor Paul, whose family later began mourning over his unconscious body in the hospital, thinking he was dead. “I am not scared of persecution anymore. Though in the initial years of my faith, I would be scared."

Paul, who has been leading a house church since 2015 under Calvary Gospel Ministries, said he had endured a similar assault in 2015 and that it was nothing new.

“My physical body might be weak, but my spirit is very strong, it will not break with persecution. They tried to kill me twice, I was almost dead, but I still did not die. I will not die until the Lord calls me back home. This assurance drives away all my fears.”

Despite his teflon inner man, three days later Pastor Paul was shocked to find out police had registered a First Incident Report against him and his family for unlawful assembly, provocation, and witchcraft, as well as excising from his own report the allegations of attempted murder he had filed against against his assailants in the wake of the attack.

Christians in many places in India now fear to even go to the police with their reports of attacks from the roving bands of Hinduism enforcement known as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Bajrang Dal, whose activities have been spurred by the tacit support of the Narendra Modi government since 2014.

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