03/01/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – On February 16, members of the Akhila Bharathiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the ruling Bharathiya Janata Party (BJP), vandalized a church in India’s Uttar Pradesh state. When local Christians reported the incident to police, authorities did little to investigate the crime.
Pastor Simon Prasad, head of the Pastors’ Association of Bareilly, told the local media that members of the ABVP vandalized Sadar Methodist Church in Barely in an effort to stoke communal tensions. Nationalist slogans such as “Jai Sri Ram” were repeatedly painted across the doors and walls of Bareilly’s oldest church.
On February 17, Pastor Prasad and other members of the church attempted to report the incident to local police. However, police officers attempted to block the submission of the complaint, telling the Christian victims that nothing had happened. Only after pictures of the vandalism were produced did the police agree to investigate the matter.
Later on February 17, police went to Sadar Methodist Church and questioned Pastor Prasad regarding where he receives his salary and how he manages to feed his family. Pastor Prasad was shocked to see that the police did little to investigate the vandalism complaint.
Attacks on Christians and their places of worship have continued to increase across India. The impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of these attacks is among the leading reasons why anti-Christian violence has annually increased since the BJP-led government came to power.
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