India: badly beaten, Christian pastor forgives his attackers

 A Christian preacher in Jaipur, Rajasthan is recovering in hospital after being attacked by up to 20 masked youths on Sunday. Rev Walter Massey who runs a small congregation, `Masihi Sanghti,' at Nandpuri Bazar was badly beaten by around 25 intruders who forced their way into his home in the presence of his wife and child. His home was also smashed up. Much of the incident was videoed and later shown on several Indian TV channels. Viewers were shocked by images of a profusely bleeding Rev Massey being beaten as he continued to tell his assailants that he forgives them. Dr John Dayal on behalf of the All India Catholic Union, the All India Christian Council, the United Christian Action and others issued a statement condemning the attack and appealing for government protection for the Christian community, who have been experiencing a growing number of violent attacks in recent months and suffer major discrimination in all walks of life. The organisations began their own investigation into the crime yesterday and pledged to stage peaceful protests in cities throughout the region. They said: "We call upon all Human Rights and People's liberties groups to join us in demanding that the rule of law and the secularism that underpins the democracy of this nation are upheld at all times. "Pastor Massey has shown exemplary bravery and faithfulness to the Lord. Even as he was being beaten, a profusely bleeding Massey proclaimed the love of Jesus Christ even on his assailants." The church groups said the attackers were members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. On the television film the youths themselves also claimed they belonged to the VHP. Many thanks to Fr Victor Edwin SJ, from the Jesuit Secretariat for Dialogue, St Xavier's Church, Shahbad-Daulatpur, Delhi. for sending us this story.

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