Over 150 mobsters broke into a private Christian worship service in Kanpur, located in India’s state of Uttar Pradesh, persecution watchdog International Christian Concern reported (ICC).
On December 2, the protestors forced themselves into the private hall, threatening Christian worshippers and disrupting Pastor A. B. Singh’s morning service.
Pastor Singh’s wife was brutally beaten by members of the mob, after she tried to protect her husband and other women in the church who were being attacked.
The mob then chased all the Christians from the service, warning Pastor Singh to stop leading Christian worship services in Kanpur.
Police were called to the scene, but according to ICC, no action has been taken so far.
Pastor Vijay Gupta, a Christian leader from Kanpur, told ICC: “The attacks on places of worship have picked up in the last two to three months in the Kanpur region.
“What we hear in the news is the tip of the ice-berg. Pastors and evangelists are constantly being harassed and [threatened].”
Pastor Sam P. Jacob, also from Kanpur, told ICC: “We had to completely shut down our Christmas programs and activities due to the prevalence of anti-Christian sentiments.
“Christians are terrified over the situation. We are not sure if we are even going to conduct a Christmas service on Christmas day.”
The India state of Uttar Pradesh has witnessed a major crackdown against Christianity in recent months.
Earlier in September this year, 10 Christian pastors in Uttar Pradesh in India were arrested for holding a Sunday service.
Police reportedly stormed the church in Karibayar and arrested the Pastor Bahavan Ram, a United Nations religion watchdog Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reported.
Mervyn Thomas, chief executive of CSW, told International Christian Concern (ICC): “Recent events in Uttar Pradesh are deeply worrying and indicative of a concerning increase in religious intolerance in India.
“The arbitrary arrests by the police go against the rule of law and we call on the government of India to ensure the release of all pastors currently held in detention, and to work to protect the right to freedom of religion of belief for all Indians, as guaranteed by the Constitution of India and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which India is a party.”