02/05/2019 India (International Christian Concern) – On February 2, a Pentecostal Church, located in India’s Telangana state, was set on fire by unknown assailants. The attack has left Christians from ten villages without a place to worship.
Indian Pentecostal Church, located in Oopparpalli village, is about 100 miles southeast of Telangana’s capital Hyderabad and is home to around 200 worshipers. According to Mr. Prasangi, a church member and eyewitness, Christians from ten villages surrounding Oopparpalli attended worship at Indian Pentecostal Church because it is the only church in the area.
On Saturday, February 2, Christians went to the church at around 11:00 a.m. for prayer. When they arrived, the church was fully engulfed in black smoke. When the Christians investigated further, they discovered that the doors of the church were open and much of the inside of the church, including furniture, the pulpit, the sound system, fans, carpets, and lights, were burned to ashes.
Prior to the fire, church members reported being threatened by local radicals and were told not to attend the India Pentecostal Church. When the incident was reported to police, the police tried to link the fire to a natural accident and did not want to investigate from a religious angle.
However, after considerable pressure from the Christian community, the police registered a case and have promised to investigate the incident. Meanwhile, without a church building, members of the Indian Pentecostal Church held their regular Sunday worship service outside of the burned church in open land on Sunday, February 3.
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