By Santosh Digal, Worthy News Asia Correspondent reporting from India
NEW DELHI, INDIA (Worthy News)-- An evangelist and co-workers were recovering Friday, May 28, after Hindu militants attacked them in India's southern state of Karnataka, Christians said.
The militants, who were believed to be from the hard-line Bajrang Dal group, attacked Evangelist Edward Bellary and three women from Mayer Memorial Church (MMC) in a home in the town of Hubli, explained local Pastor Noel Kotian.
He said the Hindu mob stormed the house while the evangelist and his team were praying for a sick woman. The militants allegedly accused them of "forceful conversion and deceiving the family with false hopes."
Kotian said the "extremists began beating the evangelist" while the women were apparently also threatened. Another Christian, Elish Mulur, came to rescue Bellary from the angry mob. "However, when he reached the spot, the extremists badly beat him up. He sustained injuries and his left ear- drum was damaged," added MMC church member Dr. Daniel, who only uses one name.
A crowd reportedly dragged the evangelist to a police station and pressured law enforcement personnel to arrest him. MMC representatives said he was released after eight hours without charges.
The attack came shortly after Bajrang Dal activists disrupted a Sunday worship service and beat up a pastor in the K.R Nagar area of Karnataka, Christians said.
The militants than took the pastor, identified only as Elisha, to the nearby police station where he was reportedly questioned by officials. After an hour of interrogation he was released, but police opened a criminal case against him on charges of "un-authorized worship place," according to Christians familiar with the case.
Police reportedly warned the pastor not to conduct Christian meetings and activities in future.
Bajrang Dal has not openly commented on these cases. However church groups say there have been an increase in attacks against Christians in Karnataka and several other Indian states as nationalistic Hindu groups oppose the spread of Christianity in India, a heavily Hindu nation. (With editing by Stefan J. Bos)