A group of people who attacked churches known as Nihang Sikhs recently disrupted a Christian prayer gathering that was taking place at Sikhpal Rana Ministries Church and allegedly insulted the Holy Bible. The suspects made use of sharp weapons and caused injuries to members of the congregation.
Church Attackers' Invasion on Christian Prayer Meeting
On the afternoon of Sunday, May 21, at the Sikhpal Rana Ministries Church, prayers were taking place when approximately 25 assailants disguised themselves as Nihangs arrived at the location with their faces hidden. As per English News Track Live, these individuals wielded sticks, swords, and other weapons. It is asserted that the assailants immediately began fighting with the individuals already present in the chapel when they entered. In addition, the Christian side began to pelt each other with stones in retaliation for the attack the Nihangs carried out. Throughout this time, people on the two sides were shouting religious slogans at one another.
Accordingly, Nihangs were also responsible for vandalizing the automobiles parked outside and defiling a Bible housed in the church. Before this surprise attack, there was a stampede, and then both groups eventually confronted one another. Because of this, the situation became more intense. The authorities reportedly arrived at the scene as soon as they were informed about the occurrence and quickly began their investigation. They separated the combatants and used their authority to bring them to an amicable resolution. According to Satinder Singh, the SSP of Amritsar Rural, the inquiry is underway by filing a case against unidentified people. As mentioned, it is not confirmed whether those responsible were Nihangs, who are known for attacking churches, or whether they were someone else.
Moreover, Hindustan Times reported that two people who were part of the Christian community were hurt and sent to a private medical facility. According to allegations made by a member of the State Minority Commission named Subash Thoba, illegal substances were also found in the vehicle driven by the persons being charged. He added that they had been told by the Amritsar SSP that intense punishment would be taken against those who were accused. On the other hand, when people from the Christian community were staging a march in April of this year in the village of Pakharpura in the Amritsar rural district, a bunch of criminals disguised as Nihangs attempted to harm those members of the Christian community.
Also Read: Christian Groups Call for Independent Panel to Address Rising Attacks in India
Church Attack Incidents in Punjab
According to News Click, there has been a discernible rise in the level of violence directed at Christians in Punjab in recent years. The assault on the church is the most recent incident in a series of increasingly frequent attacks on Christians that have taken place over the past few months in response to allegations that Christian missionaries are engaged in "large-scale forced conversions." However, the data that is officially available fails to support the charges.
According to the Census completed in 2011, Christians make up fewer than 1.5% of Punjab's total population, whereas Sikhs account for approximately 58% and Hindus for about 38%. On August 28, 2022, charges of forced conversion led to the disruption of a prayer and healing session that was taking place in Daduana village, which is located in the Amritsar region. Allegedly, rather than guaranteeing and safeguarding the devotees' safety and security, authorities reassured the attackers that programs of this nature would not be organized.
Related Article: Christian Prayer Meeting Interrupted By Authorities, Arrested 10 People for Branding Forum as ‘Religious Conversion Activity’