Indian State Government Reopens Church Following Court Order
04/17/2019 India (International Christian Concern) – The High Court of Uttar Pradesh, located in northern India, ordered the BJP-led state government to reopen a church seven months after it was wrongfully forced to close.
On April 12, the Allahabad High Court ordered the state government of Uttar Pradesh to reopen Pastor Satyen Biswakarma’s church located in the Siddharthnagar District. Pastor Biswakarma’s church has been reportedly closed since September 16.
On that day, individuals claiming to work for the government barged into the church are recorded a prayer service. After the recording incident, government officials told Pastor Biswakarma he could not hold prayer services inside the church until the government granted permission.
Speaking to UCA News, Tehmina Arora, Director of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) India, said, “The court’s order is a welcome stop towards protecting the rights of all religious minorities to be able to freely practice and profess their faith.”
Arora went on to explain that government machinery has often been misused to harass the Christian community. She pointed out that this is a clear violation of the fundamental right to religious freedom protected under India’s constitution.
According to ADF, more than 120 incidents of violence were recorded against Uttar Pradesh’s Christian community in just the first three months of 2019. Local Christians claim that attacks on their community increased significantly after a BJP-led government was installed in March 2017.
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