By Abdulla Gaafarelkhalifa
On December 29, 2021, a Dalit-Christian family in the state of Karnataka, India, was attacked by a group of right-wing Hindu Nationalists in their own home under the suspicion that they were conducting illegal conversions.
Akshay Kumar Karaganvi, a pastor, was organizing annual prayers at his home with his family around 1 p.m. when seven men allegedly entered his house and interrupted the prayers.
They accused the female members of the family of being “professional sex workers” and the men as children of “professional sex workers.” They assaulted Akshay and his nephew Sudhakar Vyapari. The nephew also had his gold chain stolen.
A pot of hot sambar (lentil soup) was thrown at Akshay’s wife, Kavita, causing burns. A cousin who was with the family had her saree ripped off while being called a “sex worker.”
Before they left, the intruders threatened to “burn them to death” if they tried to convert people again in the future.
“They abused our caste as a group of toilet cleaners and chappal makers, and that we were betraying the Hindu faith that they were born into,”Karaganavi told the investigators.
The First Investigation Report cited numerous charges including unlawful assembly with common criminal intention, wrongful restraint, robbery, outraging the modesty of women, and criminal intimidation.
The timing of this attack is uncanny; in the capital of the state, the legislative body passed an anti-conversion law that made conversions harder for religious minorities just days prior. Whether or not the family was trying to convert people remains unclear.