House Churches Raided on Easter Sunday

(Compass) Three Protestant house churches in Sarpang district, southern Bhutan, were raided by police on April 11, following Easter Sunday services. No arrests were made, but church members were warned to stop meeting together, and three pastors and one elder were asked to report daily to the local police station. Police told the believers that their meetings were viewed as “terrorist activities” by the Bhutanese government. Catholic churches have also experienced increasing restrictions since the year 2000, when, according to Bishop Stephen Lepcha, the government outlawed “public non-Buddhist religious services, and imprisoned those who violate the law.” Bhutan is still recovering from a border conflict that broke out between the Royal Bhutan Army and the United Liberation Front of Assam in December 2003. Believers in Bhutan say persecution may increase as a result of the conflict. They have asked Christians around the world to remember them in prayer.

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