ICC Replaces Equipment for Church Demolished in India
By Michelle King
01/19/2017 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – On November 2, 2016, Hindu radical forces motivated government revenue officials to raze the Shalem Prayer House in Telangana, India. This attack marked the 31st major incident of religiously motivated violence in Telangana during 2016, demonstrating the increasing degrees of hate and intolerance by Hindu radicals toward Christians. The church’s demolition affected more than 100 Christians, including Mrs. Dayamani who was inside right before the bulldozer flattened the church.
Because the church had no warning about the demolition, they lost everything inside of the church, including an amplifier, musical instruments, a pulpit, chairs, carpet, etc. Pastor Suvarna Raju admitted that the church’s destruction “was a sudden incident, where we did not have time to secure the things that were inside…We were utterly disappointed with the tragedy.”
Mrs. Dayamani was one of 10 believers inside the church when the bulldozer approached the building. She and the other Christians were having a prayer meeting when their friends suddenly pulled them out through the back door. Once outside, she was “manhandled” by the police, resulting in a right ankle fracture.
Shalem Prayer House may have only been a temporary shed made up of bamboo and thatch, but it served as the house of worship for more than 100 Christians for 11 years. Pastor Raju admitted, “Many of our believers are day laborers and can hardly meet their daily needs…We are not sure if we can build [the church] again.” Mrs. Dayamani could not afford adequate medical assistance for her fractured ankle either. Telangana’s Christians were discouraged and losing hope.
In response to such persecution, ICC provided funds to purchase new equipment for the church and pay for Mrs. Dayamani’s medical assistance. While it may seem like a small gesture, the church’s congregation was very thankful. “On behalf of the church, we really want to thank ICC for providing carpets, amplifier and instruments etc…Thank you very much for encouraging us through practical help.”
The Christian community described how “many leaders and people came and sympathized, when the incident took place, but ICC was the only organization to come back and replace the broken items.” The new equipment and medical assistance has renewed the Christians’ hope in God and strength to endure persecution.
Hindu persecution in Telangana is a frightening trend and ICC remains committed to assisting Christians who have endured such persecution.