On Sunday morning, September 26, Assemblies of God of India pastor Shivanda Siddi had his service interrupted as several religious radicals invaded his church, beat him in front of his congregation and then he was arrested by local police.
According to the Global Council of Indian Christians, the attackers were members of the radical group Bajarang Dal. The men entered Pastor Siddi’s church, Gnanodaya AG Church in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, during the service. They argued with the pastor, then took Bibles away from members and proceeded to beat the pastor for about 30 minutes before they called the police and had the pastor arrested after falsely accusing him.
Siddi, five women and two young girls were taken to the police station in Yellapur where, according to GCIC, the pastor was beaten again by the religious radicals in front of police officials.
Later that evening, through the intervention of GCIC, the women and children were released. However, the pastor was subsequently sent to Sirsi jail.
Dr. Sajan George, spokesperson for GCIC, told AG News that on Wednesday, September 29, GCIC was able to get the pastor released on bail, with the help of an attorney. “The radicals tried to attack the GCIC coordinators,” George stated.
“Although I’m deeply pleased that GCIC was able to secure the release of Pastor Siddi,” says Omar Beiler, AG World Missions regional director for Eurasia, “this kind of incident is not isolated or restricted to India. Persecution is a very real experience for many Christians around the world. I believe our prayers for the suffering Church can make the difference between life and death for many of our brothers and sisters in Christ who experience – at the very least – daily threats .”