12/15/2019 India (International Christian Concern) – On December 1, radical Hindu nationalists burned down a small church located in Perigaon village, located in the Rayagada district of India’s Odisha state. According to local Christians, the radicals had been harassing the local Christian community for at least a week prior to the arson attack.
The trouble started on Sunday, November 24, when members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) interrupted the worship service being led by Pastor Bibhudan Pradhan. According to Pastor Pardhan, the radicals threatened the believers and even followed them home to confiscate their Bibles and other Christian literature.
At around 11 p.m. that night, the radicals burned the Bibles and literature they had collected. The radicals then told the Christians that they were not allowed to hold Christian worship services in the village.
On December 1, the next Sunday, the same group of RSS members attacked the church. This time the radicals set the church’s thatch roof on fire. According to a local Christian, the church members ran into the nearby jungle because their feared the radicals attack them.
On December 2, two local Christians, named Sure Kadrake and Bhaskar Rao, went to the Rayagada police station and reported the incident to police. Police registered First Information Report (FIR) number 0443 against the radicals. However, despite the matter being reported to police, Christians in Perigaon village remain under threat and are currently facing a social boycott instigated by the radicals.
For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].