Hindu extremists have intensified their persecution campaign against Christians in India, threatening to "cut them into pieces" if they go back to church and refuse to reconvert to Hinduism, church leaders disclosed recently.
In Rajasthan state in the northwest, 10 Christian families in Nakhnool village, near Alwar, have fled after Hindu extremists harassed and threatened to kill them, area church leaders said.
One of the Christians facing Hindu fury was a pastor who was threatened with death if he continues holding worship meetings, according to the Morning Star News.
"Since June 27, we have not been able to have any kind of worship meetings," area pastor Malkeet Singh said. "The extremists threatened to harm us if we utter the name of Christ or conduct any Christian meetings."
Last July 19, members of the Hindu extremist Shiv Sena, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) reportedly held a "homecoming" to Hinduism (Ghar Vapsi) in front of Pastor Pratap Singh's house.
According to Rajamman Johnson, regional secretary of the Friends Missionary Prayer Band (FMBP), about 600 people gathered in front of the pastor's house and put up the idol of the Hindu god Hanuman. They forced Singh and 10 family members to worship the idol and sign a paper which read "I am willing to be a Hindu."
"They forced them to drink water procured from the Ganga River and put kumkum [red marks] on their foreheads to show that they are now Hindus," Johnson said.
Pastor Singh had been hiding for a month after the extremists threatened to kill him if he continued holding worship meetings. They found him and brought him to his house for the reconversion ritual.
"The extremists had been following the movement of Pastor Singh closely for a long time, and then they dragged him back from his hiding place to forcefully convert him along with 10 members of his family to Hinduism in an hour-long Ghar Vapsi ceremony," Johnson said.
Singh has been ministering the village for 15 years and started getting death threats last December. The extremists held bogus forced conversion ceremonies in December after the BJP-led coalition government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was installed in May 2014.
"The extremists boldly claimed that they were the ruling [BJP] party in the state, and that they can stop whatever they like," Johnson said. "The support they get from the police and the village head emboldened their actions."
Christian leader Anil Masih said Christians in the village has stopped meeting for fear of their lives.
"The extremists threatened to socially boycott the Christians if they continue to worship Christ and threatened to kill them if they submit a police complaint against anyone," he said.
On June 28, the extremists held a "reconversion" ritual in Narpur village wherein 50 Christians were forced to convert to Hinduism.
"The Hindu extremists collected 50 Christians from Nakhnool, Kota and Nikkach villages and conducted a Ghar Vapsi on the land of the FMBP, and the extremists further threatened to kill and cut the Christians into pieces if they ever go back to church again," Johnson said.
The Hindu extremists also planned to demolish the FMBP building in Bandholi last July 18 and threatened to harm the family of local evangelist Malkeeth Singh.