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Church Forcibly Dismantled By Villagers In Tamil Nadu

Global Council of Indian Christians

4/23/07 India (Persecution Update India) – Pastor Durai Peter of Velakkudi, Chidambaram District, Tamil Nadu has been ministering in the village for the past 8 years. As he has a number of spiritual gifts, the church has grown rapidly and about 300 persons attend services, held in a make-shift hut built on a site rented out from an old person. The constant bustle and sound of church worship and prayer was seen by the locals as a disturbance and he had been asked to leave the premises many times by the panchayat in the village. They had asked for permission to stay for a few more months as the site they had purchased for their own church was inaccessible as there was a crop of sugarcane in the adjoining field.

In the meanwhile, several rowdy elements felt threatened by the pastor. The reason was that the “god” in the nearby temple became inactive after the church started meeting in the locality. They saw him as the reason for this development and went about seeking to get him killed, and approached two gangs with the request. Both times, well-wishers heard of the plot and the potential assassins were dissuaded. But several attacks were made against the church and the church members by a group of men led by one Sivanandan, s/o Kandasamy, who is employed in a stage government undertaking.

On 20th April 2007, a group of agitated villagers, egged on by the RSS, a radical Hindutva outfit, threatened them at knifepoint to dismantle the church, which is constructed of poles and woven palm-fronds, failing which they would set fire to it. To avoid a conflict, the church members themselves quickly dismantled the church. They now meet in an open plot of land near the place they have bought, having cleared the land of bushes and thorns. They hire tarpaulin sheets to sit on while services are conducted.

Pray that the church members and the pastor will be safe and that the opponents will have a change of heart. Pray also for the necessary finances to put up a simple structure which will serve as a worship centre and meeting hall.