They Cry in Silence Sep/Oct 2007

Sacred to the Hindus of India are monkeys, cobras, cows, and other animal and plant species. Unfortunately, the same respect, to say nothing of reverence, is not extended to Christians. Hindu extremists apparently will stop at nothing in their war against the followers of Jesus.

Compass Direct News has reported a brutal attack on a Christian pastor in a suburb of Bangalore, in Karnataka state. On June 8 a mob of Hindu extremists beat Pastor Laxmi Narayan Gowda “and tried to set him on fire before parading him naked in the suburbs” of the capital city.

After barging into his home, they informed him that unless he and his family left the area, they would be assaulted. Compass Direct said the mob then left, but soon returned with 100 more people who forced their way into the pastor’s residence, where they beat him mercilessly in front of his wife and two children.

At one point they doused him with kerosene and began burning Bibles. An assailant threw one of the burning Bibles at pastor Gowda, but miraculously he did not catch fire. Compass Direct reported that the extremists then stripped him and marched him through the neighborhood with a board around his neck bearing the words I am the one who was converting people.

Pastor Gowda accepted Christ about 15 years ago. For the past 12 years he has ministered as a pastor and representative of the Global Council of Indian Christians.

Sam Joseph, a leader of the All India Christian Council (AICC), reported that by the time the pastor was pushed into the street, the mob had swollen to about 1,000 people who jeered, harassed, and joined in the attack. At least 250 Bibles were burned, while furniture and equipment in the house were vandalized. Pastor Gowda was hospitalized.

According to an informant, the attack was not a spontaneous outburst of religious fervor. It was planned and allegedly directed by an unidentified lawyer who suggested to the crowd that if it attacked as a group, there would be little if any prosecution. Local police arrived about an hour after the assault. But when Compass Direct filed its report, no action had been taken against the perpetrators.

Dr. Sam Paul, AICC’s public affairs secretary, said “extremists in Karnataka are emboldened as the police usually turn up after the incident. There are also times when the police encourage antisocial elements to harass Christians.” A police spokesman did say police asked the Christians to file a written complaint against the attackers, but the believers were reluctant to press charges.

A police inspector said the mob was made up of local people who did not belong to any extremist Hindu groups. The inspector claimed that Pastor Gowda’s neighbors attacked because they did not want Christian prayers and meetings to be conducted in his house. Informed sources, however, contradicted the explanation, saying the assault was motivated by resentment of Gowda’s conversion from Hinduism to Christianity and was a warning to others who might be tempted to do the same.

A revealing fact is that the mob was also bent on launching an attack on the Scriptures by burning Bibles, which tells us that God’s Word and the faith it produces are at the heart of the persecution in India and other places throughout the world.

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