Editor’s Note: Please be advised this article about a pastor in Khandwa District, Madhya Pradesh, India contains descriptions and images of violence and may not be appropriate for children or some other readers.
New Dehli (Morning Star News) – Tribal animists in central India who demolished a pastor’s house and drove him and his family out of their village in March seriously injured him in an assault this month, he said.
After beating, choking and pelting pastor Lalu Kirade with a stone in the April 3 attack, the tribal villagers in Khandwa District, Madhya Pradesh threatened to destroy his vocal chords as one of the assailants put her foot on his throat, he said.
“They had sprung on me like a pack of wild dogs,” Pastor Kirade told Morning Star News. “They told me to call upon my God to come and rescue me.”
Among the assailants was the man who began the assault on him in March for refusing to abandon Christianity, identified only as Laxman. In the most recent assault, the six men and two women of one extended family ambushed the 29-year-old pastor as he returned from a grocery shop near the yard where his family is living under the open sky three miles from his former home in Bilood village, he said.
They hit and kicked him, pulled his ears, dragged him by the hair and uttered profanity about Christianity and Christ, the pastor said, besides robbing him of rupees equivalent to US$51.
“The money was given to me as help during this [new coronavirus] lockdown period – it was all that I and my family had to survive upon,” Pastor Kirade told Morning Star News.
Laxman’s wife and niece began to throw stones at him, and a large one weighing more than half a pound hit the back of his head, he said.
“My head began to spin with the sudden strike,” he said. “Blood started to ooze out of the injury, and I fell on the ground. I heard the men shouting at Laxman’s wife for hitting me with a stone. They said they had planned to hit me in a way that I would not bleed. They scolded the women for not doing as planned.”
Laxman’s niece put her foot on his throat, choking him, as the others held down his hands and legs so he could not move, he said.
“I was gasping for breath and thought that I would die,” Pastor Kirade said, adding that Laxman’s niece said, “Call upon your God for help. You pray and preach using your vocal cords, I am going to bring an end to your voice today.”
A passer-by from Bilood village saw the assault and informed the church member in whose yard the pastor’s family is living. The Christian told Kirade’s father and mother, also living in the yard with the pastor’s children, and several relatives rushed to the scene “just in time,” Pastor Kirade said.