INDIA: Church Attacked by Village Mob

27 February 2024

Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide

Clashes erupted between villagers and church members on 13 February following disputes over a development on church property. The District Superintendent of the Methodist Church reported that tensions rose after local authorities commissioned work to extend a cement road onto church-owned land. It is reported that the villagers have been demanding the road widening for several years onto land legally owned by the church.

Church members at the 50-year-old Methodist church in Janwada village, Rangareddy district, in India’s Telangana State, refused permission for the workers to begin until church leaders arrived to discuss the matter. While waiting, a mob of over 200 villagers gathered and began quarrelling with the church members, later gaining entry, throwing stones and bricks at the building. Some are reported to have chanted “Jai Shri Ram” (a Hindu chant translating to “Hail Lord Ram”, which has been frequently adopted by Hindu nationalists in recent years), while vandalising the church. Fourteen Christians were injured, including three who were taken to hospital for head injuries.

The Christians called the police who dispersed the mob and began an investigation. Later the village was put under restriction, prohibiting gatherings of four or more people across Janwada until 21 February. After discussions with the Bishop of the Hyderabad Regional Conference of the Methodist Church of India, the Cyberabad Police Commissioner assured that strict action would be taken against the perpetrators. Twelve people have been arrested as of 23 February, inciting a counter-complaint against the Christians, resulting in five Christians being detained.

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    Pray for them

    Pray that God would strengthen the Methodist church of Janwada and that the Christians would be a light and source of peace in their region.

    Pray that God would radically transform the hearts of those throughout India who are opposing the gospel message, leading multitudes more to faith in the Lord for their eternal salvation.

    Pray for justice. Pray that the authorities would act justly in handling this case, and others, as Christians continue to face similar attacks across India.

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