By Shibu Thomas
In a brutal attack, a pastor and his family were hunted down with swords and butcher’s knives by a gang of religious goons.
The incident took place on the 17th of September 2020 in Taran Taran district in of Punjab.
“We were on our way back from a prayer meeting at around 10 pm, late in the evening. I sensed danger when I noticed 3 men following us closely on their motorbikes, so I rode home faster,” said Pr. Jeras, as he narrated the incident to Persecution Relief.
Pr. Jeras explained that their daughter had not accompanied them to the prayer meeting, which took place, just a kilometre away from their home. “As I approached my house, I noticed around 10 men waiting near my gate, while my daughter had locked herself inside the house,” said the Pastor.
“Before I could even think of parking my bike, the men who were following me and the men who were waiting at my gate, pounced on me, my wife and my son and attacked us with swords, rods and butcher’s knives” Pr. Jeras added.
Speaking to Persecution Relief about the severity of the attack, Pr. Jeras said that his body suffered cuts in many places. “The men beat us up and fled, leaving us bruised and broken. At 11:30, I rushed my family to the City hospital” he added.
Pr. Jeras received 10 stitches on his head, 4 stitches on his arm, and 2 stitches on his ear. “My wounds are still bleeding. My wife suffered a broken arm after being mercilessly beaten with a rod and my son sustained deep wounds on his back and left arm,” the pastor said.
“We recognized a few of the goons who attacked us. So, from the hospital, we directly went to the local police station to make a complaint. We were shocked to see the goons sitting inside when we reached,” Pr. Jeras told Persecution Relief.
The pastor explained that the police not only refused to register their complaint but instead, were very hospitable towards the goons as they work with the local MLA. “We stood at the police station begging for them to take our complaint, but even until 1:30 am, they did not pay any attention to us and refused to file our complaint” he added.
Instead of helping the persecuted Christians, the authorities entertained the persecutors. Such cases of collusion are extremely common. Within the last 2 months, Persecution Relief has recorded 3 cases of Christian persecution in the state of Punjab.
The mysterious death of Pr. Balwinder, the gang attack of Pr. Daler and the above case. These cases have one thing in common, the Police were not supportive at all. The fact that the authorities are turning a deaf ear towards Christians in Punjab is a growing concern for the Christian minority in India.
Pr. Jeras independently leads a church in the Taran Taran district. Before him, his father, S. Masih, pastored the same church. He has been ministering in that region since 2012.
In the 1st Half of 2020, Persecution Relief recorded 293 cases of Christian Persecution. In 2019 alone, we recorded the maximum number of 527 cases compared to 447 cases in 2018, 440 in 2017, and 330 in 2016. From January 2016 to June 2020, Persecution Relief has recorded 2067 cases of Hate crimes against Christians in India.
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has downgraded India to the lowest ranking, ‘Countries of Particular Concern’(CPC) In its 2020 report. The US State Department ranked India’s persecution severity at “Tier 2” along with Iraq and Afghanistan. Over the past seven years, India has risen from No. 31 to No. 10 on Open Doors’ World Watch List, ranking just behind Iran in persecution severity.