The incident happened on April 25 when a mob led by the village president and his advisers beat up a group of Christians with sticks. Pushpa Kumari, one of the victims, said the mob forced them to eat basil leaves and drink water from the Ganges River that was considered holy.
They were also made to deny Christ. At least 13 young Christians caved in to pressure and reconverted back to Hinduism. The four couples who refused were beaten up. Their water supply was also cut off, leaving their crops exposed to temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius.
During a confrontation at the police station, the victims were accused of forcibly converting Hindus to Christianity. One of the victims, Manoj Kumar, denied this, saying the Christians just gathered at his house on Sundays as they were unable to go to town for worship.
An amicable settlement was reached that both sides will follow their own respective religious practices peacefully, and no charges were filed. But the water problem wasn’t settled.
Villagers still refused to sell water from their boreholes, and the Christians’ crops were left to die.
“We are ready to pay the hourly price, but the president and villagers have decided to not let us irrigate. Our field is going dry; it’s burned dead,” Kumar said. Last June 14, Gupta told the Christians if they want water, they have to stop following Christ and holding their worship services.
The oppression against Christians has long been common in India. In 2014, it ranked 28th on the Open Doors World Watch List of Countries where Christians faced the worst persecution. The persecutions enormously increased since then and the country is now ranked 15th.