A Christian pastor was assaulted by a mob of radical Hindus in Delhi, said a report by rights group International Christian Concern (ICC).
The mob accused the pastor of being on a conversion mission and forced him to chant “Jai Sri Ram” or “Glory to Lord Rama” before attacking him and stealing his bag.
The pastor reportedly said that the attackers “spoke to each other and accused me of religious conversion.”
“They started beating me up and took my phone, my bag which had my Bible, the papers of my bike and other important papers. They were taking photos and videos of the entire thing,” he said.
The ICC report quoted the news site Scroll in India that bystanders told the mob to take the pastor to the police, but the mob said the police were not answering the phone.
“The men then said the [station officer-in-charge] phone was not connecting,” said the pastor.
“They were hitting my head constantly, and also attacking my chest and stomach. They hit me so much on the head that I was bleeding from my nose and mouth,” he added.
Eventually, the pastor managed to break the ropes and run for his life until he found a spot to hide, said the report.
A report released in December said Christians in India were the targets of 305 violent incidents in the past nine months.
The report, produced by three civil rights groups, concluded that Christians faced persecution in 21 of the country’s 28 states, said the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need.
India, the world’s second-most populous country after China, is ranked 10th on the World Watch List for the persecution of Christians compiled by the advocacy group Open Doors.
According to a 2011 census, 79.8% of India’s 1.38 billion population is Hindu, 14.2% Muslim, and 2.3% Christian.
India has the second-largest Catholic population in Asia after the Philippines. There are around 20 million Catholics in the country, comprising Latin Rite Catholics as well as members of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church and the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) listed India as a “country of particular concern” for religious freedom in 2020 for the first time in more than a decade.
“The government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), promoted Hindu nationalist policies resulting in systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom,” the commission’s 2021 report said.