India church
Pastor, pregnant wife beaten, doused with petrol by unidentified assailants in Chattisgarh Picture: A Christian priest (2nd R) stands outside a church along with other people at Hasayan town in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh August 29, 2014. [Representational Image]Reuters

A Christian couple in Chhattisgarh was attacked on Sunday, with unidentified people trying to set fire to a church in the Left-wing-extremism-hit Bastar region, reports said on Tuesday. The pastor and his pregnant wife were beaten by the group before they could escape. There have been no arrests in the case yet. 

Pastor Deenanath, his wife and children in Tokapal, Chhattisgarh, were reportedly beaten and doused with petrol with the intention of burning them before they escaped, Chhattisgarh Christian Association President Arun Pannalal told Times of India.

The attackers, who came heavily armed, forced the Christian family to chant "Jai Sri Ram," according to an Asia News report. They also set fire to church furniture.

Global Council of Indian Christians President Sajan K George condemned the "unjustified" attack on Sunday.

"The tiny Pentecostal community in Chhattisgarh is under constant intimidation and threats by the henchmen of right-wing extremist groups who target innocent Christians even while they are saying prayers," George told Asia News.

An FIR against the unidentified men has blamed them for creating "communal tension" in the area. 

In another incident in March, a group had attacked a church near Raipur. Devotees were beaten up and sacred books torn. At least nine people had been arrested following the attack. 

At least 93 attacks on Christian minorities have taken place in 2015 and 2016 in the state, Pannalal said. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad allegedly spearheaded a ban on non-Hindus from the restive Bastar region in 2014, the TOI reported.