A south Indian pastor was beaten by seven youths after they asked him to “pray for a sick friend”. Pastor Robert Kennedy of Bangalore required 16 stitches to his head and back after the assault in early January.
Pastor Kennedy and the small congregation of Jesus Preeti Church had gathered for worship when seven young men entered the house church and sat down, reports Compass Direct News. They talked among themselves, and one of them made calls on his mobile phone as Mr Kennedy preached.
After the service the youths approached the pastor and asked him to accompany them to the home of a sick friend who needed prayer. Since the house was supposedly nearby, he asked some of the young men to bring the patient to the church for prayer.
As three in the group made their way towards the door, the others turned on the pastor and beat him severely.
“Suddenly all four attacked me, slapping my face, back and chest,” said Mr Kennedy. “One of them grabbed the microphone stand and struck me across the back, causing a deep gash, and blood began flowing out.”
The three who had not yet left the church came back and slapped the pastor, who had fallen to the floor. They then struck him with the circular base of the microphone stand, causing severe bleeding.
“They said to me, ‘You were telling everyone that Christ shed his blood – now you do the same,” Mr Kennedy added.
The youths also beat a church member identified only as Rajendran, who by chance returned to the church.
Kennedy believed his assailants were members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) or some other Hindu extremist group, since “they were mocking the teachings of Christ”.
In neighbouring Andhra Pradesh state, Hindu extremists beat two pastors after warning them to cease Christian activities in their villages.