Tribal villagers in eastern India assaulted three Christian families and destroyed their homes on Easter Sunday (April 17), sources said.
The assailants, followers of tribal nature-worshipping religion, were upset that the Christian families in Odisha state’s Ejariguda village, Malkangiri District, were preparing for Easter rather than their traditional festival, said the first victim, Podia Madkami, whose three daughters were kidnapped in an assault by tribal villagers 10 years ago and remain missing.
The only three Christian families in the village are unable to return to the properties where their homes lay demolished due to threats on their lives, they said.
Madkami, 45, said he and his wife Budri Madkami were at home preparing for an Easter service and luncheon at 8 a.m. when about 20 people brandishing wooden batons from a mob of more than 100 intruded into their home, beat him and threw the food for the community Easter luncheon to the ground.
“They hit me with wooden batons, kicked me, slapped me and punched me,” Madkami, who speaks only Odia, told Morning Star News through a translator.
He sustained serious leg injuries and a wound on his forehead requiring hospital treatment, and the assailants manhandled his wife and tore her clothes, he said.
Pastor Bijay Pusuru, who oversees the house church that met in Madkami’s home, said the assailants tried to kill him.
“Podia Madkami was attacked to be killed – when 100 people attack someone, it is with the intention to kill,” Pastor Pusuru told Morning Star News. “The attackers showed no mercy or restraint while hitting Podia. It is only God’s grace that he is not dead, looking at the severity of the assault.”
Besides demolishing the walls and roof of Madkami’s house, the mob destroyed his grain stocks and food and stole 10,000 rupees (US$130), he said.
“They ransacked my house and my yearly grain harvest,” Madkami said. “How will we sustain ourselves for the entire year with no food and no money? They threatened us to not return to the village or else they will kill us.”
The followers of traditional tribal religion then went to the other two Christian homes, one belonging to Samari Kabasi, who lives with her 13-year-old daughter, and another belonging to Kabasi’s son, Padman Kabasi, and his wife.
“There are only three Christian families in the entire village, and the villagers got together and assaulted all the Christians and vandalized their homes and property and forced them to flee the village,” Pastor Pusuru said.
Madkami and the other Christians received first aid at a government hospital, and the doctors prescribed medicines for Samari Kabasi, who suffered ear injury and stomach pain.
“They slapped me on my face three or four times, which injured my ear, and kicked my stomach,” Samari Kabasi told Morning Star News through a translator.
The Christians registered a First Information Report (FIR No. 213) on April 17 against 19 named assailants and other unidentified people under Indian Penal Code sections for unlawful assembly, rioting, offense in place of worship, insulting religious beliefs, obscene acts, voluntarily causing hurt, assaulting a woman by disrobing her, mischief, theft, criminal intimidation and unlawful assembly.
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SOURCE: Christian Headlines