A group of around 20 carol singers, including women and children, had just finished singing at a private home in Tikirya village, Rajasthan state, last Wednesday (14 December). Whilst walking back to their parked vehicle, a mob of between 20 to 30 people attacked them with clubs and sticks. Five of the group had to be kept in hospital for treatment. The mob accused the Christians of conversion activity and during the attack shouted, “Bharat Mata ki Jai” (Victory to Mother India). A complaint has been registered against the attackers.
Attacks on Christians in India over the Christmas period are not uncommon, making it difficult for them to celebrate freely and without fear. Last year, Christians in the Kandhamal district of Odisha (formerly Orissa) state were prevented from travelling to celebrate Christmas at their local churches by roadblocks and a general strike encouraged by Hindu radicals. On New Year’s Eve, Hindu extremists surrounded a church in Karnataka state and attempted to halt a prayer service. In 2014, five Christians were seriously injured after around 30 Hindu radicals attacked a group of carol singers in Hyderabad.