Christian Parents And Children Attacked For Their Faith In India
Pictured: Rajubhai R. Bhuriya Do you and your family have a daily devotional time together? Perhaps it is in the evening before everyone heads off to bed. Maybe you read a passage from the Bible and pray together as a family. This is often a serene time, when families set aside time in their day to spend with God and with one another. Last month, a Christian family in India had gathered together to do a family devotional one evening. A group of about 20 suspected Hindu extremists attacked the large extended family during their evening devotions, injuring all and leaving five in critical condition. “I am so astonished at their brutality,” says victim Rajubhai R. Bhuriya. “They didn’t even spare my old mother or small children. When we tried to hide they looked for us and beat us.” The family members are farmers and day labors, who come from a tribal background. “My family came to faith in Jesus twelve years ago,” says Rajubhai. “My elder brother Sukhram was suffering with a mental ailment. He was healed when the believers prayed for him at a church (which was located near Sappoi village, district Dahod). Since that time we all became followers of Christ and started attending that church community.” However, since that church was about 15 miles away from their place, the Bhuriyas decided to start a worship service in their own house. Rajubhai Bhuriya, who is the only family member with an education, has led their House Church since 2010. The entire family attends the church services in the house and also assembles together for evening prayer every day. Despite being the religious minority, the Bhuriyas had never experienced this kind of persecution before. “They used sticks, axes and steel pipes to attack everyone in the house,” said Rajubhai. “When I asked them why they were beating us, they said that they didn’t want us to pray and sing Christian hymns. According to them, it was not good for the village community. The beating and abusing went on for nearly one hour.” While the beating was going on, Rajubhai was somehow able to call an ambulance, which arrived at about an hour later. When the ambulance arrived, the extremists boarded it and forcibly drove off to the Police Station in order to file a false complaint against Rajubhai. The attackers alleged in their complaint that they had an argument with the Bhuriya family, claiming that the family members had attacked them instead. Left with no ambulance, Rajubhai called another ambulance which arrived at about 30 minutes later. The whole family went to the nearby Limdi government hospital. After being treated at the hospital, Rajubhai went to the Limdi police station at about 3:00 am to register a police complaint. However, the police refused to file a FIR (First Information Report) and asked him to come back in the morning. He went back in the morning and filed a FIR against the extremists. All of the family members were injured and five of them were critically injured. Rajubhai’s left hand was fractured when the extremists hit his hand with steel pipes and wooden sticks. His mother received a deep cut in her right leg, as they had attacked her with an axe. The extremists also beat her with wooden sticks and steel pipes on her thigh and waist. The attackers beat the children mercilessly too. Surtaben, who is 12-years-old, was hurt on her head and nose, and 10-year-old Rekhaben sustained an injury on her right ear. She was struck with an axe that damaged her ear drum. Since the incident, she has lost hearing in that ear. Her face is so swollen that she cannot even fully open her mouth. District Dahod, which borders Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, has seen many attacks against the Christian community in the past as well. Christians make up 0.5% of the total population of Gujarat, according to the 2001 census. As I think about my family devotions in juxtaposition with this story, I cannot even imagine what my brothers and sisters are going through. As you and your family gather together for your family devotions, will you lift up the Bhuriya family in prayer?