Churches in India Illegally Banned from Holding Services

                      (Image: CBN News)

Last Sunday, over 50 churches in India’s Madhya Prades state were prevented from holding services. The International Christian Concern (ICC) reported that a notice was sent to Christians in the Jhabua district by the Universal Hindu Council and other radical Hindu nationalist groups forbidding them from gathering. 

"I read the circular last Friday and decided not to have worship on Sunday. The last five months have been difficult. Our congregation has been reduced from 40 members to 15. Even these 15 are now scared. I know as a pastor that I need to endure hardships and persecution for my faith. But I am worried about those who are showing interest and coming newly to worship with us,’’ a local pastor told ICC.

According to the notice, churches were prohibited from gathering except they had permission from the local magistrate. This made many Christians to cancel their church services. These Christians are worried that they will not be allowed to exercise their rights to religious freedom which are guaranteed in theory by India's Constitution.

The India population is made of about 3 percent of Christians and they are facing a great level of persecution in the past year. CBN News reported that in the first nine months of 2021, there were more than 300 incidents of significant Christian persecution. 

"The fears which are being fueled of Christians converting Hindus are baseless," A.C. Michael, the National Coordinator of the United Christian Forum, told ICC.

The persecution has not stopped some Christians in the Jhabua district from taking their stand. The notice that prohibited the church from holding services made about 300 Christian leaders and pastors to meet with authorities of the district. They tendered a memorandum requesting the equal treatment of all communities in the district including the Christian minority.

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