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Church Vandalized, Bibles desecrated in Mizoram, India

ICC (08/12/06) NEW DELHI – Unidentified attackers have vandalized a church and desecrated Bibles and the altar of a Presbyterian church in the northeastern state of Mizoram, where close to 87 percent of the population is Christian. Church authorities suspect Satan worshipers were behind the attack.

The incident is understood to have taken place late July 23 (Sunday), as a charred New Testament and torn pages of the Bible were found lying on the pulpit of the Kawnpui Hmarveng Presbyterian Church in Kolasib district on Monday morning.

The culprits had urinated on the chair of the worship leader. Drops of blood were also found on the bench reserved for church elders.

Speaking from the capital city of Aizawl , moderator of the Mizoram Presbyterian Church Synod Rev. Chin Mawai told ICC that the synod leadership would meet the committee of the church in Kolasib the following week to decide what should be done to prevent such attacks in the future.

“Some people returned for the Monday morning prayer and found charred pages of the Bible scattered on the floor,” national daily The Times of India quoted chairman of the church committee Upa Zahlira Zote as saying.

Zote said the sacrilege was possibly done by a ‘satanic cult’.

“A group of high school students in Kawnpui village had confessed to worshipping Satan last year,” he told the daily.

The chairman said someone from Kolasib town had told him that burning the Bible and blood sacrifice were part of the rituals practiced by an anti-Christ group in the area. “Whatever happened here is akin to his theory,” Zote said.

Mawai said about four or five years ago some incidents of satanic worship in the state came to fore, but no such thing was reported recently till the July 23 attack. He said it could not be said with certainty that the perpetrators were Satan worshippers, as police investigation was not requested by the church.

According to the Satyamonline news portal, Christian leaders of the state had in 2000 voiced concern at a growing trend among young people for indulging in satanic rituals.

However, Zote appealed to churches in Mizoram to pray for his church and also for “those who committed the sin…We ask God to forgive them.”

Nearly 300 people attend the Sunday worship service in the church in Kolasib.

The Mizoram Presbyterian Church was established by Welsh missionary Rev. D.E. Jones. The church is one of the constituted bodies of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of India, which has its headquarters at Shillong in Meghalaya state.

With the coming of Christianity to Mizoram in late 19th Century, the perception of the people, mainly belonging to animist faiths at the time, changed drastically. Within 50 years, indigenous people embraced Christianity and in a decade’s time the church came into existence.

Christianity was brought to Mizoram, also known as an Island of Peace , by British missionaries in 1894.

Today, there are about 772,800 Christians in the state with the total population of over 888,570 people.

Mizoram shares border with Bangladesh in the West and Myanmar in the East.