06/30/2015, 00.00
INDIA
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Vandals attack Baptist church, damage cross, in Bhiwani

by Nirmala Carvalho
Four motorcyclists threw stones at the building. After a first incident, they came back half an hour later to carry out a second attack. This is the first act of violence in Bhiwani District. For the church’s pastor, the attack was "an attempt to provoke tensions in the community." According to the president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, it was “intentionally provocative and anti-Christian."

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – On Sunday morning, four men stormed the Baptist church in Bhiwani District, in the northern Indian State of Haryana.

The four hooligans arrived on motorcycles around 5:30 am. Two of them threw stones at the building and then fled when they saw parishioners at the scene.

Some 30 minutes later, the attackers came back and threw stones a second time, damaging the church’s cross. Now, things appear to be back normal.

Deputy Police Inspector Ummed Singh corroborated the incident. The official said that no one was hurt, noting that police agents have been deployed around the church to avoid "any other possible incident during the week’s religious services.”

According to Rev Prakash Messey, the pastor of the church, the attack was "an attempt to provoke tensions in the community."

The incident two days ago is the first act of violence since the priest arrived in Bhiwani District. It reflects a cident  vandalised s, its,  of justice and ain  ent by favouring climate of tension caused by recent attacks against Catholic and Pentecostal churches.

Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), firmly condemned “those who vandalised the cross in the Baptist church in Bhiwani".

"This act deeply hurts our religious feelings. The cross is the symbol of the Christian faith,” the activist told AsiaNews. “This is not an isolated act by vandals; it is rather intentionally provocative and anti-Christian."

The GCIC president is very concerned about the slow pace of justice in apprehending the culprits. "Impunity,” he said, “encourages such people to feed a climate of fear and intimidation, since they can act undisturbed”.

What is more, “Such attacks generate tensions in a society that for decades saw the members of different religions co-exist harmoniously."

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