Pastor, 3 Women Among Christmas Carollers Viciously Beaten By Hindu Radicals in India

Indian believers profess their faith during a church service.(Christian Aid Mission)

A group of Christmas carollers, including a pastor and three women, were viciously beaten last week by suspected Hindu radicals—just one of the mounting cases of violence against Christians in India.

The Hindu extremists said they carried out the attack because the Christian carollers were engaging in forced conversions of Hindus by holding carol services in private homes, Asia News reported.

About 30 men armed with sticks and batons waited outside a residence in the village of Tikariya, near the city of Banswara, in the state of Rajasthan. The armed men attacked as soon as the carollers came out of the house heading toward their parked cars.

Fortunately, the three nuns who were with the carollers were still in the house when the Hindu militants attacked. The children in the group were able to escape.

The remaining members of the group, including Fr. Stephen Rawat, were not as lucky as they were repeatedly struck by the militants who shouted, "Bharat Mata ki Jai" (Victory to Mother India) as they were hitting the group of Christians.

The attackers left after seeing their victims already badly beaten. The victims were then transported to a government hospital.

Fr. Rawat later told AsiaNews, "I have no enemies, I was beaten because of my Christian faith."

India is ranked 17th on Open Door USA's World Watch List of countries where Christians face the most intense persecution. The report notes that radical Hinduism has gained more power in India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"While intolerance has risen, and minorities are constantly attacked, the central government has refused to speak out against the atrocities—thus further encouraging the radical Hindus to step up their actions. The level of impunity has gone up markedly for those who push for a completely Hindu India," the report says.

The mounting Christian persecution cases in India was earlier reported by The Gospel Herald. Citing statistics gathered by the Morning Star News, the report said in the first half of 2016 alone, at least 134 incidents of violence against Christians in India were recorded compared to 147 incidents in all of 2014 and 177 in 2015.

Unfortunately, the cases chronicled from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2016 were "just a fraction of the violence on the ground," the report said.