Christians falsely accused of forcefully converting Hindus to Christianity were brutally beaten by a drunken police officer who then ordered them to pose like Christ on the cross.
Morning Star News reports that on March 15, a group of Hindu extremists stormed a church gathering in India’s Uttar Pradesh state brandishing hockey sticks and steel rods. Accusing the Christians of forcefully converting Hindus to Christianity, the extremists threatened to beat the group of about 200 worshipers unless they dispersed immediately.
“They had already started attacking us, and the police kept looking on,” pastor Indresh Kumar Gautam told Morning Star News. “They seized the Bibles and the sound instruments, but the officers — both male and female — did not stop them.”
Instead, police forced five worshipers into police vehicles and took them to the Kunda police station, he said.
Along with the pastor, three other Christians were arrested. Another person who had only recently begun attending services also was taken into custody, but when he told police he was not a Christian, they immediately made arrangements to release him on bail, pastor Gautam said.
The four Christians remained in custody for six hours until the Sub-Divisional Magistrate agreed to release them on bail after forcing them to sign an affidavit stating that they would never again be involved in Christian conversion activities in the area.
A police officer then entered the building, asking the Christians: “Are you the religious conversions people?” Before they could reply, he began beating them with a cane, Gautam said.
“The stink of alcohol from his mouth was very strong and unbearable,” the pastor recalled. “I was howling in pain, crying out to the Lord — ‘Lord, if I have to take this torture for sharing the Gospel, I accept it, Lord. I accept it. Give me the strength. My voice was growing feeble. I kept repeating, ‘Father, give me the strength. I need your strength. I can’t take this pain.’”
Striking the pastor’s legs, the officer mocked the pastor’s caste and economic status, using obscenities, the pastor said.
“I could hear him speak ill about me, my identity and faith, but I did not say a word,” Gautam said. “He had beaten me to a point I collapsed on the floor. I was lying there almost dead watching my friends also undergo the same degree of torture one after the other.”
The officer forced the other Christians to pose like Jesus on the cross, he said.
“He said that he wanted to get that feeling that he is torturing Jesus,” Gautam said. “‘Let’s see if your Jesus would come here to save you,’ he laughed, as he continued mocking us, calling us names, casteist slurs, but none of us protested.”
As a result of the torture, one of the Christians remains in severe pain and is unable to walk, Gautam said, adding, “He is unable to sleep because of the pain and bruises.”
The torture continued for three hours, he said, but there were no CCTV cameras inside the cell to capture the violence.
“There is no evidence of it. Unless we show our scars, no one would believe us,” Gautam said. “There is severe pain in my wrist, so that I am unable to do any chores.”