Pastor Mallik Arjun knew something was wrong when he received a call from the cell phone of his friend and fellow pastor in Gadag District, Karnataka state - but it was a stranger on the other end of the line.
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According to a story by Morning Star News, the stranger told him that Pastor Nagesh Naik was being held at a hotel near Korlahalli village and to come and find him. It was a Sunday evening, Feb. 3, after Pastor Arjun's colleague had led a home worship of the Gypsy Mission church in a neighboring village.
"I went with three church members on two motorbikes, and we were looking for such hotel all through the way and could not find one," Pastor Arjun, of the Indian Pentecostal Church, told Morning Star News.
He continued, "Finally we found a mob swelling up in a temple, and that was where they kept him - and as soon as we reached the temple, they accused us of forceful conversion and started to attack me, Pastor Nagesh and the other three Christians."
At Hanumanthappa temple in Korlahalli village, near Mundargi, the Hindu extremists beat and kicked the Christians, threatened to set them on fire and tried to force them to worship Hindu idols, Pastor Arjun said.
"They told us they will rape our wives and give twin children to us," Morning Star News reported he said. "I have never heard such foul abuse in my entire life."
Earlier, at about 7 p.m., some 200 Hindu extremists led by Laxman Gaji and another who goes by a single name, Gudadirayya, had stopped Pastor Naik as he made his way home after leading a worship service at a Christian's home in Sugar Factory quarters, near Sharanahalli village, according to attorney Moses Muragavel.
They then took him to the temple before calling Pastor Arjun, said Muragavel, of the Karnataka Legal Aid Cell.
At one point during the ordeal, Morning Star News reported Pastor Arjun said, he kneeled down in a corner of the temple and began to pray.
"One extremist gripped me on my back, dragged me up and said, 'You are even praying to Jesus even in a Hindu temple,' and then he tried to force me to worship Hindu idols," he said. "I asked him why he was forcing me to worship idols and told him that nobody can force me, and I have the right to choose the God that I worship."
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SOURCE: ASSIST News Service