India Police Stop Church Burning
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
NEW DELHI (Worthy News) – Police in central India have detained three suspected Hindu militants to end the burning of several church buildings in the region, Christians said Thursday.
The three suspects were detained after they allegedly torched the building of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chaukipura village in India’s state of Madhya Pradesh, sources said.
Pastor Mahesh Kumre of the church said he found the building charred when he arrived at 11 a.m. to start worship service on Sunday morning, February 12.
“The walls were blackened with the smoke from the fire, the electrical switchboard burnt,” he told the Christian Morning Star News agency. “And the name ‘Ram’ written on one of the inside walls of the church in the Hindi language,” Pastor Kumre added.
Just before Christmas, the 60-year-old pastor had reportedly finished laying the floor, applied a coat of paint, and fixed a windowpane on the 5-year-old structure.
The assailant cut the window mesh to break in, and the pastor found the door open.
“All the furniture, including the chairs, wooden pulpit, carpets, table, tambourines, frame drums, and a Bible were burned,” Pastor Kumre said in published remarks. He added that the assailants used “some inflammatory liquid, which turned everything into ashes.”
Church member Vilsen Mawase said about 30 pastors from the Itarsi area gathered on Tuesday to ask authorities for protection.
Representatives of the Itarsi pastors fellowship and the Christian Youth Association of Itarsi then met with the sub-divisional magistrate on Wednesday and presented a memorandum to the president of India appealing for protection, Christians said.
India, a mainly Hindu nation, ranks 11th on the advocacy group Open Doors’ annual World Watch List of 50 countries where Christians face the most persecution.
Christians say the “hostile tone” of the National Democratic Alliance government, led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, against non-Hindus, has emboldened Hindu extremism. Rights groups say attacks against Christians have increased in several parts of India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took power in May 2014.
If you are interested in articles produced by Worthy News, please check out our FREE sydication service available to churches or online Christian ministries. To find out more, visit Worthy Plugins.