04/12/2019 India (International Christian Concern) – A church in India’s Telangana state was torched by unknown assailants on Wednesday, April 10. In response, local Christians have staged demonstrations against police who they claim have allowed similar incidents to go uninvestigated.
On April 10, at approximately 6 a.m., Gypsy Mission Church, located in Machapuram village, was set on fire by unknown assailants. Sadanandam, a church member, reports that he noticed flames and thick smoke coming from the church as he was going for a morning walk. Sadanandam immediately reported the situation to Pastor Samuel, head pastor of Gypsy Mission Church.
When Pastor Samuel and Sadanadam arrived at the church, they discovered everything was completely burned. Speaking to International Christian Concern (ICC), Pastor Samuel said, “There is nothing left in the church. Everything became ashes including the pulpit, chairs, audio visual equipment, and more than 25 Bibles and songbooks.”
According to Pastor Samuel, Gypsy Mission Church was built in Machapuram village four years ago and is attended regularly by some 200 church members. Prior to the construction of the church, Pastor Samuel had been conducting worship in the village for 14 years.
“We Christians never harm anybody,” Pastor Samuel told ICC. “In fact, we go the extra mile to help people. What has happened is terrible.”
Local Christian leaders from the Mandal Pastor Association staged a demonstration in Machapuram condemning the incident. According to these leaders, this is the second church that has been burned down by unknown assailants in Warangal District in recent months.
A similar incident took place on February 4 when an Indian Pentecost Church in Parvathagiri village was set on fire. Pastor Samuel and other church members suspect that local Hindu radicals are involved in both incidents.
To date, the Mandal Pastor Association has filed a complaint with local police and the police have promised to investigate.
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