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September 6 MPBS24/7 REPORT From CDN – A visually impaired Christian and his friend accused drunken Buddhists of abducting and assaulting them last week after the blind volunteer distributed relief material in a Buddhist-majority town in a region of India devastated by recent floods. The attackers are still at large after the assault on Wednesday (Sept .1) in the town of Leh in Jammu and Kashmir state’s Ladakh region, where flooding and landslides destroyed hundreds of houses and killed around 200 people on Aug. 6. The attackers, identified as members of the Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA), abducted Ram Kumar Thapa, Stanzin Chosphel and his pregnant wife Putali Sherpa because of their Christian faith and beat the men, the victims said. According to the victims’ complaints to the Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission, LBA members were upset that Thapa was preaching Christianity to displaced residents. The assailants took Thapa to the LBA office at Soma Monastery, where a Buddhist monk was also present, and beat him again, he stated. He was then moved to a room where he could hear the voice of his friend, Chosphel, with his pregnant wife. The attackers showed Thapa’s bruised and bleeding face to Chosphel to warn him against continuing as a Christian, Thapa said. Chosphel confirmed that he and his wife were taken to the LBA office at the monastery. “They dragged me into a room and gagged my mouth so I could not cry out as they beat me with rubber pipes and rods and fists continuously,” Chosphel said. “All along they kept telling me to leave my wife and also renounce my faith in Christianity and return to Buddhism.” The men released the couple at around 12:30 a.m. after giving them two days to leave Leh or convert to Buddhism, Chosphel stated, “or else they will chop my wife into pieces and kill me and also kill my family ... who are still practicing Buddhists.”

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