By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
NEW DELHI (Worthy News) – Christians in eastern India are questioning the sealing of their church building after authorities ordered the believers to stop gathering for worship, a rights group said Thursday.
Authorities said members of the Hindu militant Bajrang Dal group complained that the church was involved in “illegally converting” others of their tribal community to Christianity.
A local tribal Christian, Phulamani Munda, denied wrongdoing saying the local faithful was “just praying peacefully in the church,” according to the comments given to Worthy News.
“We believe in Jesus and follow the path of Jesus. I don’t understand why the church was sealed.”
The decision significantly impacted Christian villagers as “this was the only church within the community where approximately 100 people were gathering each week to pray,” VOMC said.
The order was imposed under legislation including an emergency provision to maintain order “in urgent cases of nuisance or apprehended danger.” Under the order, “no more than three people will be allowed to assemble at the church building,” added VOMC, which followed the case.
VOMC said it hopes that supporters will pray for the impacted Christians and that “the Gospel will continue to reach more villages” despite the Hindu opposition. The incident in Odisha comes at a time of growing pressure on minority Christians in Hindu-majority India, according to several church groups and rights activists.