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Praying with nomads lands pastor in strife

Indian police arrest Hindu but accuse Christians of conversions

Pastor Isaac at the hospital. His wife is besides him. Pastor Isaac at the hospital. His wife is besides him.
  • Philip Mathew, Bangalore
  • India
  • January 4, 2011
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A suspected Hindu radical attacked a Christian pastor in the southern Indian state of Karnataka for praying with some nomads.

Pastor Samuel Isaac, 40, was hit with a chopper and has 11 stitches below his head, said  Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC).  The pastor’s condition is not stable, he added.

The attack occurred on Jan. 2 while the pastor was praying with some nomads in a tent at a New Year program in Davangere district. Pastor Isaac is the GCIC’s district coordinator.

Some nomads, who came from neighboring Andhra Pradesh state, had reportedly become Christians some years ago.

Basavaraju, the Hindu, objected to the pastor’s presence among the nomads and alleged he was out to make them Christians. The pastor told Basavaraju that the nomads had invited him to pray with them.

Infuriated, the Hindu aimed the chopper at the pastor’s head but missed it, hitting his shoulder.

Others rushed the bleeding pastor to the local government hospital where he is now undergoing treatment after a blood transfusion, George said.

The GCIC leader said the young attacker belonged to the Bajrang Dal, a Hindu extremist group.

Father Robert D’Mello, the local Catholic parish priest and chancellor of Shimoga diocese, said Pastor Isaac visited villages to meet and pray with people.

The police have reportedly arrested the attacker and filed cases against him.

Christians in the district have condemned the attack on the pastor and demanded a fair police investigation, the Catholic priest said.

George said the police arrested the pastor’s two assistants for allegedly converting people. The two were nursing their leader in hospital at the time of the arrest. “This is done in retaliation to the complaint lodged against Basavaraju,” the GCIC leader said.

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Arrested pastors released on bail
Rise of the sects poses a challenge for the Church

IB12699.1635
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