House Churches in India’s Tamil Nadu State Put Under Police Surveillance
11/04/2019 India (International Christian Concern) – According to a recent report by Morning Star News, house churches in India’s Tamil Nadu state have been put under police surveillance in order to stop worship. According to local Christian activists, these actions threaten the religious freedom rights of thousands of Christians seeking to hold Christian prayers and worship within the confines of their own homes.
According to Morning Star News, police have stopped Christian prayers and worship in homes in Anuperpalayem, Velampalayem, Kangeyam, and other villages in the Tiruppur District of Tamil Nadu. The Christians have been told that they are not allowed to hold worship or prayer services within their own homes unless they are given prior permission by police authorities.
“We are going through a tough time,” Pastor Vijaya Kumar of the Synod Pentecostal Churches, told Morning Star News. “There is immense pressure from the police administration in Tiruppur District that Christians are not allowed to gather for prayer even within the four walls of their own homes. The pastors of these small churches have been harassed to seek permission from district officials to conduct prayer services.”
The requirement to seek permission to hold prayer and worship services within one’s own home runs against precedent settled by high courts in India. According to a decision made by the Madras High Court in June, “The question of requiring the pastor to get prior permission from the authorities for assembling and conducting prayers in [a] dwelling place, without causing nuisance or disturbance to others and without causing hindrance to the public, does not arise.”
According to Morning Star News, Christian leaders have met with police leadership in the Tiruppur District in an attempt to resolve the current conflict. According to one of the meeting’s participants, the conversation with the police commissioner “went well.”
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