On October 3, a mob of two hundred radical Hindu Nationalists attacked congregants at a church in India’s Uttarakhand state. According to New Humanist, “Hindu nationalism is a political ideology that encompasses different groups. Broadly, these groups all define Indian culture and politics in terms of Hindu religious values.”

According to the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN), the attack occurred when church leaders were about to begin service.  The mob bombarded the sanctuary, started shouting their slogan before abusing and thrashing the congregants. They claimed that the church was conducting conversions inside.

The attackers were associated with the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Vishal Hindu Parishad (VHP), and Bajrang Dal.

Church leaders are demanding action be taken to secure their safety.

“We demand strict action against them and police protection for us,” Prio Sadhana Lanse, a leader in the church, told UCAN. “The church that was attacked has been active for the past 30-40 years,” Reverend Titoo Peter of the Methodist Church also reported.

The mob’s violence adds to recent attacks experienced by Christians in the area. Pastor Balwinder “Bagicha” Bhatti was found dead in July near a street in Ferozpur (Punjab). The Protestant pastor was ambushed, beaten, and fatally wounded in the back of the head with a sharp weapon.

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