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21 Indian Christians hurt in clashes over church land row

They were agitated over attempts to appropriate church land for road widening without their consent, said Church official
Catholic nuns stand near a polling station during the Telangana assembly elections in Hyderabad on Nov. 30, 2023. Members of a Methodist church in a village were injured in a clash over the widening of a road near their church in the state.

Police officials visiting injured people in a hospital in Telangana state capital Hyderabad after clashes over a land dispute injured at least 21 Christians on Feb. 13 in a village. (Photo: supplied) 

Published: February 14, 2024 12:00 PM GMT
Updated: February 16, 2024 06:03 AM GMT

At least 20 Christians were injured in a village in southern India when a group of Hindus attacked them over a land dispute on Feb. 13, says the top leader of India's Methodist Church.

“Our 21 followers were injured" in the violence in Janwada village in Telangana state's Ranga Reddy district, said Bishop M. A. Daniel, who heads the Methodist Church of India.

The land dispute is linked to the widening of a public road near the Methodist Church in the village.

Bishop Daniel, based in the state capital Hyderabad, told UCA News on Feb. 14 that 12 persons were admitted to a government hospital and three of them were in critical condition.

“Nine others received first-aid and were discharged from hospital,” he said.

The prelate said he was still clueless about what exactly led to the violence. "But I am sure the truth will come out after the police investigation,” he added.

The Christians were agitated over attempts to appropriate church land for the road without their consent, according to a Church official who did not want to be named.

The situation worsened when more than 150 local villagers arrived on the scene and confronted them.

Arguments turned violent soon and bricks from a nearby construction site were used to attack each other.

Police have registered a case but no arrests have been made even after a day.

Police have restrained outsiders from visiting the violence-hit area, said the Church leader who visited the victims’ families.

Bishop Daniel visited the injured in the hospital.

“We have assured our prayers and support to them,” he said.

Christians make up some 20 percent of Telangana’s 35 million people.

The state is currently ruled by the Congress party, which claims to protect the interests of minorities, including Christians.

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