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Church torched, Christians threatened and attacked in Indian state

Country/Region: South and East Asia, India

A 119-year-old church was torched by Muslim extremists in an Indian state where Christians are under mounting pressure; over 400 have fled their homes as a result of threats from Muslims.  

Srinagar_Kashmir_India_4X3.jpg
The church was in Srinagar,
Jammu and Kashmir state
CC BY-NC 2.0 / Jenny Mackness

The church in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir state, was set ablaze on 23 May; while the guard was away, the offenders threw a petrol bomb into the building.

Bishop Peter Celestine Elampassery of Jammu-Srinagar said that the Muslim fundamentalists want Christians to leave the state, and because they are a minority, cannot resist the pressure.

He said that the church had filed a case with the police but had been advised not to “play up” such incidents.

Earlier this year, the church minister’s motorcycle was set on fire while parked on the veranda of his residence.

Christians are coming under growing threat from Kashmir’s Muslim majority. A Christian human rights group in India said that over 400 Christians have been displaced as a result.

In one incident in April, three Christians were beaten up in a market place in Bandipora town where they had been handing out Gospel tracts and sharing their faith. The Rev. Mafford Maharaj Singh (62) and his wife Kusum (60) from New Delhi, and Sammena Bano, a young woman from the area, were dragged to the local mosque and then handed over to the police.  

The Muslim mob who attacked them alleged that Mr and Mrs Singh had offered financial bribes to induce people to convert to Christianity. 

They were held in custody and face up to five years in prison, having been accused of “promoting enmity between groups on grounds of religion, race, birth, residence”. Sammeno was released after questioning.

Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, said that the case is evidence of the “growing pressure” on Christians by the Muslim majority in Kashmir. He added, “Life for the Christian minority is increasingly difficult.”

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christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

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  • Violent attacks by militants from the Islamist group Boko Haram continue unabated in Northern Nigeria. On one horrendous day of violence on 26 January, at least 138 people were killed. A church in Wada Chakawa village in Adamawa state was targeted; the attackers locked the congregation inside and then detonated bombs, shooting and cutting the throats of people who tried to escape. They then went on a four-hour rampage in the village. Later the same day, Kawuri village in neighbouring Borno state was burned to the ground. Boko Haram is fighting to establish an Islamic state, and Christians are among its main targets. Pray that the Nigerian authorities will succeed in containing its insurgency. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Apr 2014 00:28

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