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India: Hindu nationalist leader and police go door-to-door warning people not to attend Christian services

Hindu extremists also moved to shut down prayer services and drive Christians from their places of worship. The participation of the police is yet another example of a recurring phenomenon: all too often, and not just in India, the persecutors of Christians are not stopped by government and law enforcement, but are actively aided and abetted by them. And while this article focuses on the persecution of Protestant communities, Christians in India who are members of Apostolic Churches are not spared the wrath of these extremists, who believe that Christianity is an alien element despite being brought to India by St. Thomas the Apostle. The Order urges the Indian government to stop the escalating persecution of Christians in the nation, and to ensure the safety and religious freedom of all Indian citizens.

“Churches Deprived of Their Worship Buildings in Tamil Nadu, India,” Morning Star News, March 7, 2019:

HYDERABAD, India (Morning Star News) – Churches in Tamil Nadu, India that had never experienced opposition now find Hindu extremists forcing them out of their places of worship, sources said.

In one case Hindu extremists called praying women prostitutes and threatened to kill them; in another case near Chennai, the state capital, police went door-to-door with a radical Hindu telling people not to meet for worship; in a third case, the owner of the property where the church meets ordered them to vacate after opponents set a fire inside.

In Vairichettipalayam village, Tiruchirappalli District, a mob of more than 25 Hindu villagers led by area Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders on Feb. 17 burst into a Christian’s home during an evening Bible study and prayer time where about 20 women and the pastor were meeting. Led by BJP leaders identified only as Ramesh and Ramachandran, the intruders told them they must vacate the place, Pastor Raju, who goes by a single name, told Morning Star News.

Asking who had given them permission to hold a Christian meeting, the BJP leaders and their aides told the Christians the house would be locked and they must leave immediately, he said.

“We tried to make him understand that we had been gathering as a house church for the past 15 years, and that we had not violated any law,” Pastor Raju told Morning Star News. “I said, ‘Why should we vacate?’”

The radical Hindus then began shouting obscenities at them, he said.

“One after the other, Ramachandran and his group started shouting at Christian women, ‘Have your husbands left you to prostitution, that you are following this pastor’s instructions? Today, you are calling him brother and he is sweetly calling you sister – soon he will make you all mother,’” he said. “When one sister tried to videotape all this, they started threatening us that we will be killed…the situation was turning to be out of control.”

One of the Christians managed to call the Upiliyapuram police station, and officers arrived and restored order, he said. The Christians filed a complaint on Feb. 19 and sent a copy to higher police officials, but police have not registered a First Information Report (FIR), he said.

On Feb. 24, one of Ramachandran’s close aides, identified as Ravi, followed the Christians on their way to worship and monitored the service, leaving before they could apprehend him, the pastor said.

“Since the church members are aware that they are keeping a close watch on us, they are too frightened to attend the services,” Pasor Raju said. “It is our own property, and we never faced such opposition in the past 15 years since we dedicated a part of our house for prayer services.”

The same mob disrupted another prayer service less than two miles away on Feb. 17, he added.

Door-to-Door Warnings

Near Chennai in the Thiruneermalai area, the founder of the Hindu Nationalist Party (Hindu Makkal Katchi) on Feb. 13 went door-to-door admonishing area residents to stop attending Christian worship, sources said.

The Hindu nationalist leader, Arjun Sampath, was accompanied by a female police officer, they said.

The previous week, Sampath sent a mob of about 40 Hindus to a house church downhill from a Hindu temple, and they warned the pastor to vacate the place that served as both his residence and worship site, the pastor said.

“They told me that there should not be any Christian prayers in the area,” Pastor Vetri, who goes by a single name, told Morning Star News. “I told them that we had been having peaceful prayer services for past 12 years, and that it is not possible to vacate.”

He later received legal notices falsely claiming that the property belonged to the Hindu temple, and that there can be no Christian occupants or church activities in the area, he said.

“The property owner gave in to the pressure from police and the Hindu Makkal Katchi and asked us to vacate the place,” he said. “We shifted to the town now and are continuing to assemble for prayers.”…

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