12/04/2018, 13.10
INDIA
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Uttar Pradesh radicals’ gift for Advent, an assault on a church

The liturgical service was underway in the church of Naubasta. The police should be "guardians of the law" and instead "takes a position influenced by prejudices and bigoted against the Christian minority". In the Indian state, the Persecution Relief group reports 93 incidents of persecution.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) - On Sunday 2 December, the day the Church celebrated the first Sunday of Advent, in Uttar Pradesh about 150 Hindu fanatics attacked a church and interrupted the prayer with the complicity of the local police. Then they launched an ultimatum to the faithful: either they close the place of Christian worship, or "they will suffer severe consequences".

 Shibu Thomas, founder of Persecution Relief that defends discriminated Christians in India, denounces to AsiaNews: "The police, which should be 'guardian of the law', does not perform its duties and takes a position influenced by prejudices and bigotry against the Christian minority".

The attached church is located in Naubasta, in the district of Kanpur. The activist says that the radicals arrived waving orange flags (the color of Hindu nationalists), singing praises to the god Ram and shouting slogans against Christians. "They sowed fear and terror in the community," he adds.

Some women in the church have requested police intervention, "believing that they could reason with the fanatics, since it was evident that they were acting out of ignorance". But the agents imposed the interruption of prayer and asked Christians to leave. Then they also dispersed the troublemakers who, regardless of the presence of the police, threatened to return next week.

Rev. Jeetender Singh, in charge of the New India Church of God, tells the Christian network that two days before the incident, the local police inspector had visited the church. On that occasion he informed Pastor A.B. Singh who had been charged with a complaint against him for alleged "forced conversions". After the attack by the radicals, he reports, the inspector himself refused to collect the complaint of the Christians.

The Christian group claims that "in Uttar Pradesh dozens of churches are forcibly closed with the help of the police and the administration". According to Shibu Thomas, "on many occasions the agents accompany the fanatics and reporters, when they target a church and decide to close it. In the districts of Jaunpur, Azamgarh, Kanpur and others, more than 20 churches were forced to close. The policemen patrol the surroundings, stand guard at the entrance and prevent the faithful from gathering together to worship Christ ".

According to Persecution Relief, in 2018 in Uttar Pradesh there were 93 episodes of persecution. Faced with threats and an attempt to spread terror, the Churches of the Indian state responded with a large "peace gathering" in Varanasi.

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