Hindu Extremist Attack on Home Traumatizes Pastor and Family

“If the attackers had managed to come into the room where the family was hiding, we would be looking at a much worse situation,” Pastor Kumar said. “I do not doubt that they would have killed the family.”

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NEW DELHI, October 29, 2019 (Morning Star News) – A Hindu extremist mob in northeastern India tried to kill a pastor and his family in an attack on their home Sunday night (Oct. 27), the church leader said.

At 1 a.m. on Monday (Oct. 28), Hindu extremists brandishing swords, bricks and rods broke through windows and the roof of the home of pastor Palathingal Joseph Johnson in the Rajasan area of Vaishali District, Bihar state, he said.

Members from the hardline Hindu groups shout in Chandigarh

“10 to 15 Hindu extremists shouting slogans of ‘Jai Shri Ram! [Hail, lord Ram]’ trespassed into my house,” Pastor Johnson told Morning Star News. “They were using vulgar language declaring that they will kill me and my children and will outrage my wife’s modesty.”

The assailants also carried wooden sticks and appeared to be drunk, he said. They were members of the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS, parent organization of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), he added.

Pastor Johnson, his wife Shalomi, and their four children ages 7 to 13 hid themselves in one of the rooms in their two-room house. The attack was well-planned, the 44-year-old pastor said.

“We heard their conversation from behind the closed door – they were talking like professional terrorists,” he said. “They did not call each other by name. They had divided themselves into three teams, and one of the attackers assigned tasks to the teams by saying – ‘A section – break the windows,’ ‘B section – break the cars,’ ‘C section – climb the roof.’”

Unable to break open the front door, they began to break windows, he said.

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“Soon we heard the noise of the glass breaking,” he said. “One team climbed the roof of our house, but they could not break open the roof to enter the house. So, they twisted the aluminum corrugated sheet and entered.”

The room where he and his family were hiding did not have a latch on the inside, so the pastor hid his children under the bed while he and his wife braced themselves against the door, holding it shut with all their strength.

Pastor Johnson first tried calling the police emergency number but could not get through, he said. He then called a Christian in their neighborhood and asked her to gather people to help.

“While my wife and I caught hold of the door from inside, the attackers were pushing the door from outside trying to open it,” Pastor Johnson told Morning Star News. “That moment I could see death face-to-face. A delay of two more minutes would have cost us our lives.”

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The Christian he had called reached the house with 50 other villagers just in time, he said. “The Hindu extremists fled from our home when they saw a mob larger than their numbers,” he said.  Though traumatized, his three daughters, ages 13, 12 and 9, and his 7-year-old son were very brave and did not cry out, he said.

“Along with us, they constantly kept on chanting, ‘There is victory in the blood of Christ,’” he said.

Pastor Johnson came out of hiding to find his home and cars damaged. The attackers had used bricks and thick wooden sticks to break the house windows and the windshields and doors of his two parked cars. They also ruined a toilet, he said.

An activist and the presbyter of Indian Pentecostal Church in Nalanda Patna, pastor Gautam Kumar, said the assailants took advantage of area residents celebrating the Hindu festival of Diwali, as the sound of their firecrackers late at night hid the sound of the break-in.

Diwali
Diwali Celebration 

“If the attackers had managed to come into the room where the family was hiding, we would be looking at a much worse situation,” Pastor Kumar said. “I do not doubt that they would have killed the family.”

Pastor Johnson, who has been living in the area for more than 10 years, leads the Set Free Church, where between 50 and 100 people attend worship every week. His home has a hall where the worship service is held on Sundays and two adjoining rooms where the family lives.

He also oversees an orphanage in the nearby Hajipur area, Pastor Kumar said. 

Two policemen have been deployed outside the pastor’s home, and five members of his church volunteered to stay with him and his family for their protection, he said.

A First Information Report (FIR) was registered after initial investigation, case No. 427/19, dated Oct. 28, under Indian Penal Code sections for rioting, rioting armed with a deadly weapon, unlawful assembly, criminal trespass, house-trespass, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and outraging religious feelings.

The case was to be investigated by Assistant Sub-Inspector Jaykumar Singh.

A policeman at the Bidupur police station who declined to give his name told Morning Star News that the FIR has been registered but no arrests have been made.

HIndu Police
Hindu Police Officers

Distressed by the rising number of attacks on Christians in Bihar and in the country as a whole, Pastor Kumar told Morning Star News that he is heart-broken.

“A handful of people in our country are spreading false propaganda against the Christian community and are polarizing the masses with false information that Christianity is a foreign religion, and that Christians are anti-nationalists,” he said. “It is heart-breaking that the masses are believing this lie, and thus Christians are being targeted throughout the country.”

Pastor Johnson said that he previously had received several mild threats and warnings from Hindu extremists and could sense that trouble in some form was forthcoming, he never imagined it would be this severe. The last time he had been threatened was six months ago, he said.

“I knew persecution will come and I was mentally prepared to face it, but I had never thought it would be scary like this,” he said. “I saw my death before my eyes, and the thought of my wife and children dying with me was even scarier.”

 

Article originally published by Morning Star News

Edited by Babylon Today

Claims That Ancient Hindus Invented Stem Cell Research Instead of Einstein Causes An Uproar

A scientist from a university in southern Tamil Nadu state questioned both the general theory of relativity by Albert Einstein and the theory of gravity by Isaac Newton.

Organizers distance themselves from speakers who claimed Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton were wrong.

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Comments claiming Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton were wrong were heavily criticized by scientists [Reuters] 

The organizers of a major Indian science conference have distanced themselves from speakers who made some unusual claims during the five-day event held in the northern city of Jalandhar.

The speakers, one of whom was the vice chancellor of a South Indian university, claimed Hindus invented stem cell research thousands of years ago and said Einstein’s general theory of relativity was wrong.

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 Jalandhar, India 

“We had 100 Kauravas from one mother because of stem cell and test tube technology,” Andhra University Vice Chancellor G Nageshwar Rao said, referring to a story from the Hindu epic Mahabharata.

Rao also told the group of schoolchildren and scientists he was addressing that a demon king from another centuries-old Hindu epic had two dozen aircraft and a network of landing strips in modern-day Sri Lanka.

“Hindu Lord Vishnu used guided missiles known as ‘Vishnu Chakra’ and chased moving targets,” Rao, a professor of inorganic chemistry, told the crowd.

Rao was not the only scientist who made outlandish remarks.

A scientist from a university in southern Tamil Nadu state questioned both the general theory of relativity by Albert Einstein and the theory of gravity by Isaac Newton.

Following the comments, the organizers of the event, the Indian Scientific Congress Association, expressed “serious concern” and distanced themselves from the speakers.

“We don’t subscribe to their views and distance ourselves from their comments. This is unfortunate,” General Secretary of the Indian Scientific Congress Association Premendu P Mathur, told AFP news agency.

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‘Hindus capable of genetic engineering’

It is not the first time controversial remarks have been made during the annual congress.

In 2015, a paper was presented which said Hindus discovered the Pythagorean theorem but that Greek scientist Pythagoras had taken the credit for it.

A speaker at that year’s event also said aircraft were invented by Hindus in ancient times and that they had discovered the technology behind interplanetary travel.

A year earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that Hindus in ancient times already possessed the capabilities of genetic engineering and cosmetic surgery.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi

“We all read about Karna in the Mahabharata,” Modi said.

“If we think a little more, we realize that the Mahabharata says Karna was not born from his mother’s womb. This means that genetic science was present at that time,” he had said.

“That is why Karna could be born outside his mother’s womb.”

Modi also said cosmetic surgery must have been possible, as shown by the Hindu deity Ganesha.

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 Hindu god Ganesha

“We worship Lord Ganesha. There must have been some plastic surgeon at that time who got an elephant’s head on the body of a human being and began the practice of plastic surgery.

In 2016, former chief minister of the state of Uttarakhand and member of parliament Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank called “astrology the biggest science” and that it “should be promoted”.

“There is a serious concern about such kind of utterances by responsible people.”

Nishank also said Hindus in ancient times had knowledge of nuclear science.

“We speak about nuclear science today. But Sage Kanad conducted nuclear test one lakh (100,000) years ago,” Nishank said during an interview with local media.

ramesh pokhriyai nishank
Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank

Those comments were all heavily criticized by scientists.

In 2017, thousands of scientists and their supporters marched across India to promote their work and demand that the government invest more in the field.

Not only did those marching call for more funding, but they also called for the end to “propagation of unscientific, obscurantist ideas and religious intolerance”, as well as better adherence to Article 51A of the Constitution, which states that it is the duty of every citizen to “develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform”.

Hindu Extremists Beat Pastors, Stop Gospel Event in Chhattisgarh State, India

“In the police station, we were forced to sign a letter handwritten by the activists …

Berating and slapping two pastors into signing an apology letter before police, Hindu extremists stopped a planned three-day gospel meeting in Chhattisgarh state, India minutes before it was to begin, sources said.
 
Hindu nationalists beat pastor Vijay Jogi and pastor Santosh Rao minutes before the start of the first meeting, where about 1,000 people had gathered at the Railway Grounds in Charoda, Durg District on Nov. 16, pastor Amos James told Morning Star News.
 
“Pastor Vijay Jogi and Pastor Santosh Rao were receiving the people at the entrance,” Pastor James said. “Suddenly a mob of 70 Hindu Dharm Sena and Bajrang Dal activists gheraoed [encircled] the entrance, and Pastor Jogi and Pastor Rao were beaten and summoned to the police station.”
 
Pastor Jogi told Morning Star News the hard-line Hindus were shouting, “Jai Sri Ram, Jai Sri Ram [Hail lord Ram].”

“The activists slapped Pastor Santosh Rao thrice and beat us both,” Pastor Jogi said. “By then we understood that these people will not let us conduct prayers.”
 
The 45-year-old father of two received a call from the Government Railway Police at around 6 p.m., minutes before the opening prayer. Police told him come to the police station immediately and warned him to call off the event, he said.
 
As in the previous 20 years, church leaders had obtained prior permission from both the railway and the railway police to conduct the event, a campaign that in past years has seen many people turn to Christ, he said. The Hindu extremists claimed organizers also needed permission from the sub-judicial magistrate.
 
“In the pamphlets we distributed earlier inviting people to attend the meeting, I quoted Luke chapter 7 and verses 22 and 23,” Pastor Jogi said. “The Hindu activists began arguing with us, ‘You are promoting blind beliefs. How can lame walk? How can deaf hear? How can you raise the dead? When your God can do all this, why are you people going to the doctors then?’

“They told me it is very wrong that I have written these lines. I said, ‘I did not write these words. It’s a verse taken from the Holy Bible and applies to the entire humankind.”’
 
Pastor Jogi tried telling them that in those verses Jesus Christ was telling John the Baptist the things people had seen and heard, and they told him, “We are offended by these lines,” he said.
 
“For which I immediately responded with apologies,” he said, telling them, “If because I quoted these lines in the pamphlet, it is offending you at personal level, I apologize to you brothers. We are very sorry!”
 
They then questioned them about permission, and Pastor Jogi showed them the railways and Grounds Railway Police permission letter, he said. They told him they needed permission from the sub-judicial magistrate.

“For past 20 years the Railway Grounds has been the venue for gospel meetings, and like every year we only had permission from the Railways and Railway Police since this area falls under the jurisdiction of Charoda Railway Police Station,” Pastor Jogi told Morning Star News.
 
The Hindu Dharm Sena and Bajrang Dal extremists took them to the police station, as even the Railway Police, for the first time, started questioning whether they had received permission from the sub-judicial magistrate, he said.
 
“The police told me to settle the matter here and stop the event immediately,” Pastor Jogi said. “I was cautioned while Pastor Rao and I were in the police station that the activists are tearing and burning the banners, breaking the tube lights, chairs and dismantling the stage. The police officer told us even if he lodged a case [against the extremists], it would go strongly against us, and that even he can’t help it. The police did not register an FIR.”

Church leaders had made elaborate preparations to make the facilities ready for the event, but federal and state governments are against Christianity, Pastor Rao said.
 
“There is very little hope for Christians in a situation like this,” said Pastor Rao, who in 2012 was falsely accused of forcible conversion. “In the police station, we were forced to sign a letter handwritten by the activists under the supervision of BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] worker Rajguru Ghosale. The letter said by conducting this meeting we hurt the feelings of Hindus, we sincerely apologize for it and cancelling the event. They slapped me to sign it.”
 
In the presence of police, the Hindu extremists repeatedly badgered the pastor with questions, Pastor Jogi said, asking them, “Why are you calling Hindus to your events? Why are you conducting open gospel meetings publicly? Why are you converting Hindus?”

“Right in front of the police they warned, ‘You must never go to a Hindu’s house, you work among the Christians only,’” Pastor Jogi told Morning Star News. “I told them our Christian meetings and gatherings are open for all. I don’t ask each person who attends the prayers whether they are a Muslim or Hindu. When we gather, it is in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ we gather, and His arms stretch out to everybody.”
 

Christians in Charoda are living in fear and have not filed any case against the Hindu extremists or police, sources said.  
 
Attorney Son Singh Jhali told the Christian leaders that they could take action against the extremist forces and police, but the pastors declined, he told Morning Star News.
 
Hindu nationalist groups have gathered several times in Charoda, plotting how to attack Christians, a source who requested anonymity told Morning Star News. Local BJP leaders supply alcohol to youth and instigate them to attack Christians in the state, the source said.
 

“My daughters, ages 13 and 5, ask me, ‘Why is there so much opposition to the gospel, Dad? Why do they hate Jesus? They hate us because we are Christians?’” Pastor Jogi said with tears in his eyes. “I tell them, ‘They may hate Him, but the Lord still loves them. And, we must love everyone just as our Lord is loving us.’”
 

The pastors prayed after the forced cancellation of the gospel event.
 

“We will conduct the gospel meetings again in May. We are not giving up this time. With permissions from all the authorities and government officials, we will conduct the meetings,” Pastor Jogi said. “The activists are following me wherever I go. I know there is threat to my life. But I have dedicated my life fully to my Lord’s work, and I will be at it till my last breath.”

Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took power in May 2014, the hostile tone of his National Democratic Alliance government, led by the Hindu nationalist BJP, against non-Hindus has emboldened Hindu extremists in several parts of the country to attack Christians, religious rights advocates say.