An Indian Christian has suffered a brain hemorrhage and is now in a coma after he was interrogated by police about his role in distributing Bibles and other Christian literature.
According to persecution watchdog World Watch Monitor, K.A. Swamy, 47, was taken to a local police station earlier this month by a group of angry locals, who found him distributing the Christian writings near a Hindu temple in Hussain Sagar lake in Hyderabad, the capital city of the southern state of Telangana. Swamy volunteers for Gideons International, a Christian organization which distributes Bibles (free of charge) around the world.
After calling the president of the local Gideons group from the police station, the evangelist was released six hours after the detention. However, due to the stress he endured, he suffered a brain hemorrhage on his way home and remains in a coma. His wife, Sujatha, said there has been no change in his condition since last week, and has asked for prayer.
His brother-in-law told World Watch Monitor: "Several times in the past also he has been caught by extremists from Vishwa Hindu Parishad [a Hindu nationalist group] and has been threatened. He has also been taken to the police station for verification many times before. This time he just couldn't take it.
"When I asked some Vishwa Hindu Parishad members, whom I know because of my profession as a businessman, about why they had detained him in the police station the whole day, they told me that they have over 200 photos of him distributing Bibles and tracts; these are the evidences of his converting people and that he was guilty."
The state government has promised to cover Swamy's medical expenses after local Christians approached the state Home Ministry for help. A short video of Swamy being questioned by locals about why he distributed Bibles has circulated on social media. One source told WWM it is thought to have been filmed by Vishwa Hindu Parishad members, who hoped to use it as evidence that Swamy had been guilty of evangelizing.
India is listed as number 15 - up from no. 17 last year - on Open Doors' World Watch List of countries where Christians are most persecuted. Open Doors describes the persecution level in the country as "severe" and notes that the level of impunity for Hindu extremists has increased.
"While the level of intolerance continues to increase, Christians are regularly attacked by radical Hindus," notes the report. "The level of impunity has gone up markedly, with communities of converts to Christianity from Hinduism bearing the brunt of the persecution. They are constantly under pressure to return to their old beliefs, and are often physically assaulted, sometimes killed."
However, India, a predominantly Hindu nation, continues to see a rise and growth of megachurches with members "from all walks of life," according to a report from Christianity Today. According to the report, there are approximately 25 to 60 million Christians in the country, most of whom are Catholics, while about 1 billion Indians are Hindus.
"Many Americans think nothing is happening among Christians in India," said pastor Satish Kumar referring to Christians outside of his country. "We have to change that opinion."