Suspected Hindu extremists set fire to a church in India’s Andhra Pradesh state, burning it to the ground because local Christians refused to stop worshiping together.
On Sept. 8, neighbors of the Christian Miracle Church, located in Ponduru town, reported flames and smoke coming out of the church building, persecution watchdog International Christian Concern reports.
Pastor Prabhu Das, who has led Christian Miracle Church for nearly 38 years, and his son, Jeevan, arrived on the scene in time to witness flames engulf the church building. The pastor’s car was also destroyed.
Following the arson attack, the pastor filed a formal complaint with police against the unknown assailants. His son told ICC that Hindu extremists had previously threatened the church and ordered the Christians to stop meeting together.
“We have encountered opposition from the Hindu religious extremists several times in the past,” Jeevan said. “The radicals have threatened us to stop the church activities in the town. They have warned us of the consequences if we failed to close down the church.”
“I never expected this to happen,” Jeevan continued. “I suspect this is the work of those who threatened us and told us to close down the church.”
Jeevan said the arson attack has “caused a lot of terror and concern among the members of our church,” which has about 300 congregants.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett