A pastor in India is lucky to be alive after he was beaten, kidnapped and threatened with human sacrifice for sharing the Bible in a rural village.
According to Morning Star News, Pastor Shelton Vishwanathan was attacked in rural Bihar state by Hindu radicals. At least six men beat him unconscious.
“They punched my back and told me that they would offer me as a sacrifice to their deity as a punishment for distributing gospel tracts,” he said.
“They struck severe blows on my head, so that I soon fainted.”
While exceedingly rare, human sacrifice does occur within extremist Hindu cults.
According to Vishwanathan, he woke up in a windowless room which was bolted shut. For nearly a week, his captors deprived him of food or water, bringing him close to death.
“I shouted for help, cried loud hoping someone would hear my cries and come to help me, but nobody could hear me,” Pastor Vishwanathan said.
“I was lying down on the floor without food or water for the next few days. They did not give me anything to eat or drink.”
Vishwanathan was freed by a neighbour who heard his cries for help. She would only release him if he promised to never reveal her identity out of fear she would be targeted by extremists.
Open Doors USA ranks India as the tenth most dangerous country for Christians. There have been multiple instances of Christians and churches attacked, primarily in the overwhelming Hindu countryside.
Several Indian states have also created laws that make it effectively illegal to change one’s religion or try to convert others.