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Church Attacks in India

ICC Note:

News on a string of attacks against churches in recent days fills in details and alerts to new incidents.

VOMC (07/03/06) – Several attacks on Christians in India in recent days highlight the serious persecution facing Christians in this predominantly Hindu nation. A video news report from India is available on VOMC’s multimedia website, Anti-conversion legislation in several states serves to encourage militants to attack Christians, accusing them of proselytism. The following are three examples reported in the past week.

On June 30, the Disciples Church in Harda, Madhya Pradesh suffered fire damage after militants set fire to a table containing 150 Bibles and hymn books. The pastor of the church, Jaidi Khan, was able to escape without injury but was unable to stop the razing of the church that followed. Witnesses report that the attackers were members of the Hindu organization Dharam Sena (Religious Army). Authorities have been unwilling to take action. Despite various eye-witness reports, the local superintendent of police, K.D. Peshara told the Indo-Asian News Service that the attack was from members of a rival group of Christians. Peshara also claimed that this rival group burned the guard’s motorbike rather than the church building.

On June 25, militant members of Dharam Sena, disrupted a weekly prayer meeting of Christians, in the village of Bothli west of the Chhattisgarh capital of Raipur . The crowd surrounded the house and shouted anti-Christian slogans before they burst into the building and beat those gathered for prayer. A woman who was eight-months pregnant had to be rushed to the hospital in terrible pain after being punched and kicked. Police have allegedly refused to intervene in the situation.

On July 2, approximately twenty rioters raided a worship service conducted by Pastor Bagh Masih in western India . According to the Global Council of Indian Christians, the church was then ransacked and the pastor and other worshippers were beaten. One man, Mr. Bakshish was hospitalized but later that evening he was removed from the hospital when a mob threatened to kill him if he didn’t leave. Police officers commissioned to protect the church were present throughout the attack but did nothing. Authorities later refused to file a report about the incident.

Pray that the Disciples Church will be able to rebuild the church building without facing any further attacks. Pray that those who have been beaten in these attacks will recover quickly as they rely on the Lord to give them a heart of thankfulness (II Corinthians 1:9-11). Pray that the incomprehensible peace of Christ will rule their hearts and minds in the face of ongoing threats and danger (Philippians 4:7). Pray also that the Lord would make them strong to lovingly and boldly proclaim the gospel, even to their enemies (Ephesians 6:18-20, Matthew 5:44-48).