Indian pastor, 16, severely burned with acid for refusing to stop praying

7 September 2021

A 16-year-old Christian suffered burns over at least 60 per cent of his body as the result of an acid attack in eastern India.

The pastor was attacked at the end of August 2021 shortly after leaving his house to go and sell vegetables in the village market early in the morning.

The teenager’s family, who converted to Christianity two years ago and regularly hold Christian meetings in their home, say they believe that radical Hindutva nationalists carried out the attack.

A church service in India. A Barnabas Fund contact said that Christians across India are increasingly at risk of violence and persecution

The pastor conducted daily prayer meetings in his house but was warned to stop by the extremists. His refusal led to the acid attack.

In India, it is not unusual for someone to be serving as a pastor at such a young age. There are so few Christian workers, a situation aggravated by the death of at least 2,000 Christian leaders since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. As soon as a leader can be trained he begins his ministry.

“It was a horrifying scene of my brother,” the victim’s sister said. “I started yelling and crying looking at my brother. He was in terrible pain at that point, and all that I could do is to share the pain by wrapping him in my hands.”

An Indian church leader told Barnabas Fund that the state in which this attack was carried out is not known for anti-Christian violence, adding, “I am worried that this will become a model of attack for others to follow.”

The Evangelical Fellowship of India documented 145 cases of atrocities against Christians in the first half of 2021. These incidents included three murders, 22 attacks on churches and 20 instances of ostracism or social boycott in rural areas for those refusing to give up their faith.

From Barnabas Fund contacts and other sources

Related Countries

India