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Hindu Troublemakers Roundly Condemned For Disrupting Christmas Service in Bihar

ICC Note: Another report of Hindus taking advantage of Christmas to attack Christians leaves one wondering how the normally tolerant Hindu country could be the location of the worst abuses against Christmas this year.

12/28/07 PATNA, India (UCAN) — Buddhist, Christian and Hindu leaders in Bihar state have condemned four young Hindu men for repeatedly troubling a Protestant church, disrupting its Christmas service.

The incident occurred at the century-old Union Church, managed by the Church of North India (CNI) in Gaya, 1,030 kilometers east of Delhi.

Apparently inebriated, the four men began their harassment on Dec. 24, when they roughed up volunteers who were decorating the church. They snatched and punctured balloons and other decorations, and trampled them.

The intruders also threatened to kill the pastor if Christmas celebrations were not stopped and the church closed, Pastor Nicholas Purty told UCA News. They manhandled him and left after “half an hour of rampage,” the 67-year-old pastor said.

Following the incident, the pastor arranged for police protection. But the miscreants “stealthily entered the church” around 10 p.m. that night, Christmas Eve. After beating up a volunteer, they escaped without the police noticing them.

The same four sneaked in for a third time around 11 a.m. on Dec. 25, during the Christmas service. They made “vulgar gestures and remarks” in front of some 700 guests, most of them Hindus, and about 300 Church members, Pastor Purty said. Local Hindus here often come to church services during major Church feasts.

The miscreants used their mobile phones to take photographs of the choir girls, then overturned tables, chairs and musical instruments. “They also began desecrating the sacred altar. One of them climbed over the altar and began dancing, and made shameless gestures. The other three danced around the altar as if they were dancing in a pub,” recalled the shocked pastor… [UCAN Website]