Defiant worshipers hold Sunday service
Police protection for Maharashtra congregation amid threats
Christians in the western Indian state of Maharashtra held a Sunday service amid police protection yesterday following death threats and an economic boycott allegedly imposed by hardline Hindus.
About 25 people attended the service in a house church in Manor village in Palghar district two weeks after a mob of at least 400 Hindus reportedly attacked a Sunday congregation and descreated copies of the Bible.
“People were still scared as Hindu fundamentalists had threatened to disrupt the service,” said Brother Ravindra Jadhav.
Until yesterday, no further services were held at the church following death threats that prompted Christians in the village to attend a church 20kms away.
A recent campaign of repression reportedly initiated by Hindutva, a loose affiliation of right-wing Hindu groups, which prevented local Christians from buying firewood and drawing water from wells in the town has ended, said Jadhav.
Fundamentalists say they have received orders to prevent Christian practices in the village ahead of Maharashtra state elections next year.
Many are young Christian girls from tribal areas looking to better their lives
In communist Vietnam, young Catholics find it difficult to live out their faith
Further steps must be taken to ensure women their right to marry according to their own free will, says priest
For one young Catholic, the event will be like a spiritual shot-in-the-arm
Police accuse her of trying to convert Hindu children in orphanage she runs with husband