Radicals in India Attack Three Churches in Single Night
Three churches located in Indore, Madya Pradesh, India came under attack by Hindu radicals several nights ago. Extremists threw stones at the churches, destroyed crosses, vandalized, and attempted to set fire to one of the churches. Local police successfully intervened, but much of the damage was already done. These most recent attacks follow a report by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) that said religious intolerance in India is rising, something the Indian government has been quick to deny.
5/14/2015 India (Asia News) – Last night, Hindu radicals attacked three churches in Indore, Madhya Pradesh’s largest city. The extremists threw stones, destroyed crosses, vandalized various items and attempted to set fire to one of the places of worship. However, police intervened before they could carry out their plans.
Speaking to Asia News, Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), strongly condemned the attacks, which took place a few hours before Sonia Gandhi, president of the opposition Congress Party, inaugurated a missionary-run orphanage.
The Sanskritik Jagran Manch, a local right-wing Hindu organization, has come under suspicion for what happened after it threatened “direct action” against Gandhi yesterday if she actually opened the facility.
The orphanage is located in a building previously owned by a private organization. District authorities took it over and gave it to missionaries to turn into an orphanage.
One of the places of worship attacked is St Paul’s Anglican Church. Its priest, Rev Ramesh Chandekar said that militants damaged and destroyed a number of items, including a crucifix, holy vessels and the microphone.
The attackers also tried to set fire to a second Protestant church, throwing burning rags inside. Immediately alerted, police acted quickly and put out the flames before they could spread.
Extremists also threw stones at a third (Protestant) church, breaking glass panels and windows.
Attacks on churches in Madhya Pradesh, a state run by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), reflect the situation of the state’s tiny Christian community, whose “religious freedom is on a downward spiral”.