At least six Christians in India's Odisha state suffered severe injuries after a violent Hindu mob attacked them when they attempted to bury a 2-year-old baby in their village.
According to World Watch Monitor, one of the three Christian families residing in the town of Tangaguda in Malkangiri District had tried to bury a 2-year-old girl in their own land on Feb. 27, but they were opposed by Hindus who demanded that the infant should be buried outside the village.
The Hindu extremists had reportedly said that the family would only be allowed to bury the child if they paid the equivalent of US$80.
After they buried the baby, about 30 Hindu extremists reportedly came to their home at night and set it on fire.
Morning Star News reported that the mob also surrounded the houses of other Christian families in the village and told them to come out of their houses and renounce their faith. When the Christians refused, they were reportedly dragged out of their houses and beaten by the mob.
The assailants had severely beaten 45-year-old Nandi Madkami, an aunt of the deceased baby girl, and threatened to burn her with gasoline.
Savita Madkami, Nandi's 13-year-old daughter, was also beaten with wooden sticks when she tried to rescue her mother from the attackers, leaving her bleeding from head wounds.
The attackers also beat Savita's father Deba Madkami, as well as his father Ganga Madkami, and brother Jaga Madkami, according to Morning Star News.
"The mob also looted 10,000 rupees (US$153) from Jaga Madkami's house and destroyed his cycle," said Enka Pusham, a Christian from a neighboring village who hid the other Christian families.
Ganga Madkami had sustained an injury on his right hand while Nandi Madkami suffered injuries on her legs and back. Savita had a severe wound on her head while Deba Madkami and Jaga Madkami sustained injuries on their legs, face and back.
The other Christian villagers hid in the jungle and spent the night there after the assailants proceeded to burn their houses. The next morning, Pusham and other Christians from nearby Kalimela village went in search of the Christians who hid in the jungle.
"News reached our village that the villagers assaulting the Christians had actually burnt Nandi alive, and we were horrified. We started to send messages for help and prayer support on social media," Pusham told Morning Star News.
The Christians tried to file a complaint at a local police station on Feb. 27, but they were refused by officers, saying they should go to the main police station in Kalimela instead.
Pusham noted that the officers did not help the injured Christians obtain medical treatment. The injured victims were only taken to a hospital after they filed a complaint at the Kalimela police station on Wednesday.
Morning Star News noted that the Christians were prevented by the villagers from returning to their homes.
A meeting has been arranged between leaders of the mob and the Christians on March 2, but the situation remains tense and the assaulted Christians are still waiting to return to their homes.