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(Compass) – Hindu and Muslim villagers burned down a prayer hall and attacked three church members in a village in Kerala , India , on April 1. The attack came after 26 people were baptized in a discreet early morning ceremony. Two days later when Paul Ciniraj Mohammed, pastor of the church in Panamvilla village, spoke to some of the villagers about the assault, he and his assistant Shivanandan were also beaten severely. Dr. John Dayal, a respected Christian leader, confirmed a trend of growing violence against Christians in Kerala, saying, “If the people do not summarily reject this culture of hatred and violence … it will do irreparable damage.”