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Defiant worshipers hold Sunday service

Police protection for Maharashtra congregation amid threats

Ritu Sharma, New Delhi

January 14, 2013

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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.

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