|The men who are part of this traditional religion wear turbans when they are out in public.|
Bindiya Sisra, a Gospel for Asia missionary is hospitalized with serious head injuries after she was brutally attacked by anti-Christian extremists Nov. 13 in Haryana, India. Ittam Reja, a fellow missionary, was on his way to visit Bindiya in the hospital when he was also attacked by another group of extremists.
Bindiya remains hospitalized, suffering from blood clots in her brain. She is unable to breathe on her own and is incoherent.
“This is an unbelievable act in Indian culture,” said GFA President K.P. Yohannan. “It indicates how desperate the anti-Christian forces are to stop people from knowing the love of Jesus Christ.”
Bindiya has been a GFA missionary for four years. She and another missionary, Hemanti Jode, serve in an area where there is a high concentration of people who follow a traditional Asian religion. Bindiya grew up in a family that followed this religion before she chose to receive Jesus as her Savior.
During the past few years, the church Bindiya and Hemanti serve has grown, and now there are 60 people regularly attending worship services.
One of those who sometimes attends services is a young boy named Samar, whose family follows the traditional religion. Samar is friends with Pareel, Bindiya’s 12-year-old son. Knowing the boy would be welcome in Bindiya’s home, some anti-Christian extremists decided to use the boy to frame Bindiya.
The males who follow this traditional religion wear red turbans on their heads when they are in public. The turban has historical and religious significance, and men and boys are never supposed to take them off, or even loosen them in public.Bindiya remains hospitalized, suffering from blood clots in her brain. She is unable to breathe on her own and is incoherent. The extremists deliberately loosened Samar’s turban, and told the boy to go to Bindiya’s house and ask her to pray for him. When she placed her hand on his head to pray, the turban unraveled and fell to the floor. As soon as the turban fell off the young man’s head, about 15 extremists who had been watching grabbed Bindiya and began beating her. They grabbed her by the hair and bashed her head against a brick wall. Others pounded on her body with large sticks. The attacked lasted 20 minutes until someone broke it up and took her to the hospital.
Ittam Reja is the principal of a Bible college in Haryana. When he heard about Bindiya, he immediately set out to go to the hospital. While riding a bus, he gave a Gospel tract to the person sitting next to him. He was unaware that the man was a member of a national anti-Christian extremist group that is known for perpetrating horrible violence against Christians.
The man accused Ittam of forcibly converting people and being unpatriotic by leading people away from the traditional Indian religions. Ittam continued talking to the man, but he would not listen. He phoned some of his friends and asked them to meet him at the stop where Ittam was planning to get off. Ittam, sensing the danger, got off the bus at an earlier stop, where he found his friend, Nalin, who helped defend him against the extremist.The extremists deliberately loosened Samar’s turban and told the boy to go to Bindiya’s house and ask her to pray for him.
But the radical man became angry, and soon 10 other people, including the bus conductor, had joined him. The extremists punched Ittam in the head several times and threatened to turn him over to the police. Knowing that the situation would only escalate, Ittam agreed to get back on the bus with the radicals.
As they were walking back to the bus, Ittam saw a police van and suggested that his captors simply turn him over to the police right then. To his surprise, they agreed, and the police put him in their vehicle and took him to the police station. That is when God had another surprise for him.
When the officer in charge learned that Ittam was arrested for sharing a Gospel tract, his demeanor changed. He brought Ittam a cup of tea and began to chat him. The officer confided that his son had become a Christian while in Italy. After more pleasant conversation, the officer released Ittam.
“Please pray that the Lord will heal Bindiya,” K.P. said. “And pray for Ittam and the situation in Haryana. Things are becoming much more difficult for the missionaries, and the persecution of Christians is sadly, becoming the routine.”
“Also take time to pray for the extremists who attacked these missionaries, that they will come to know the Lord and receive his saving grace.”