India: Three Christians severely beaten by suspected Hindu extremists

Three Christians were subject to a brutal attack in central India after being questioned about their faith.

More than 50 suspected Hindu extremists turned on student Umesh Patel, his father Sudhama Patel and a family friend Kiran Vishwakarma for practising Christianity. The Patels' house was destroyed and the three men are in a serious condition after the attack on July 17.

Christians gather to appeal to Hindus to stop persecuting them and for the Indian government to crack down on Hindu radicals.Reuters

In the Kamarud village, Damtari district of Chhattisgarh, the mob grilled the Christians on their religion before launching their attack.

According to Tomson Thomas, the head of Persecution Relief's Indian branch, the assault was part of an organised targeting of Christianity by hard-line Hindus in India.

"We keep getting several reports of assaults on poor Christians living in villages every day from different parts of the country," Thomas told UCA News.

Earlier this month a young Christian woman was found dead in an Indian jungle. Her death is being treated as a faith-related murder, according to the persecution charity Open Doors.

The victim, Samjeera, had prepared for baptism after converting to Christianity but her pastor said she had received several death threats from her relatives who were hostile to her newfound faith.

It does not seem that attacks on the Patels' and the young Christian woman were isolated incidents. Recent reports suggest hundreds of thousands of Christians across India are faced with an ultimatum: hide their faith or risk harassment, intimidation and in some cases death.