Churches, Shops Destroyed In India's Punjab State

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 | Tag Cloud

By Santosh Digal, Worthy News Asia Correspondent

NEW DELHI, INDIA (Worthy News)-- Officials of one of India's largest ecumenical church organizations rushed to the country's Punjab state Wednesday, February 24, after clashes between Christians and Hindus left at least 10 people injured and two churches, several shops and other properties destroyed.

The All India Christian Council (AICC) said fighting in the north western state erupted after a Delhi-based publisher allegedly distributed an "objectionable" picture of Jesus Christ at the entrance of a temple for a Hindu god. The incident happened during celebrations for the "birth of Hindu god Ram" at Jalandhar city recently, AICC said.

AICC investigators and other officials were due to meet in the state capital Chandigarh before travelling to the troubled areas, AICC spokesperson Madhu Chandra told BosNewsLife. The fact finding team is led by John Dayal, Secretary General of AICC and Member of India's National Integration Council, Chandra added.

They arrived as a curfew was imposed in Batala town where one of the area's oldest churches at City Road was torched and some shops vandalised by Hindu extremists, Christians and police said. Another church in the region was also reportedly destroyed.

SHOPS CLOSED

Police said the violence began when "some Christian youths forcibly" started "downing shutters of shops" across town, apparently in reaction to the controversial Hindu publication about Jesus Christ.

Activists of Hindu radical groups Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Shiv Sena objected to the closure of shops and soon groups of both communities went on a rampage and looted shops, police said.

Six shops were also ransacked in the ensuing chaos, according to witnesses. Additionally a Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation bus and another private bus that were were reportedly stoned and its windows shattered. Angry crowds then burned six scooters and motorcycles, witnesses said.

At least 10 persons were injured in clashes in the busy Batala localities of Circle Road, Dera Road, Chakki Bazaar and Gandhi Chowk. A State Bank of India ATM at the railway station was also broken, officials told BosNewsLife. Several Christians were among those detained in the clashes.

MORE TENSIONS

The situation in Dhariwal town, 12 kilometers from Gurdaspur, was also tense as Christian youths armed with sticks could be seen riding motorcycles and threatening people with "dire consequences" if they opened their shops.

In Bathinda, a large number of Christian men and women - led by the town’s Christian Welfare Association president, and priest, George C. Masih - blocked roads and rail traffic. Protesters stopped the Kisan Express train at the Bathinda railway station for about an hour.

They also marched through town from the Railway Colony Methodist Church to the main bus station shouting slogans against “erring” persons and seeking strict action, paralysing traffic. The protesters ended their demonstration after local officials came to receive a petition demanding justice.

AICC and several churches expressed concern about the situation, saying they would hold a peace and prayer rally and expressed their solidarity towards detained Christians and those "injured" and condemned the "burning of two churches" in Punjab.

They also condemned the usage of picture of Jesus Christ for a Hindu festival. The tensions are the latest in a series of incidents involving minority Christians and Hindu activists in India. It comes at a time when several Hindu groups protest against the spread of Christianity and missionary activities in the predominantly Hindu nation of over one billion people. (With editing by Worthy News' Stefan J. Bos).

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4 thoughts on “Churches, Shops Destroyed In India's Punjab State”

  1. The Christian community used to take all the beating from the radical Hindu fanatics, but in
    Punjab, events took place in a different format. Perahps, this may be a red light sign to the
    fanatical Hindu radicals that the patience of the Christians is running out and they may resort to
    retaliations. Retaliations from the Christian community is contrary to the teachings of Jesus
    Christ, but some of the Christians may take retaliations in their own will. Let us pray that
    peace may be established in Punjab. Punjab was a peaceful place for the Christian community
    due to the stronghold of the Sikh community, they were always kind and friendly to the Christians in
    Punjab and all over India.

  2. Praying!

    "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
    Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
    Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
    Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
    Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
    Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
    Matthew 24:3-9

    Bless Punjab State Almighty LORD

    "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
    And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?"
    John 11:25-26

    Save Now LORD Jesus, Save Now!

    "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call."
    Joel 2:32

    Thank You For Answered Prayer

    I Love You Jesus

  3. The brethren should not have resort such violent agitation. They should have protested only peacefully. If Christians follow the things the gentiles do, then what is the difference between them and we? We must always think "what would Jesus do" in such situations.

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