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20,000 Christians in TN Protest Against Violence, Harassment

Tuesday, April 24, 2018, 22:18 (IST)

Over 20,000 Christians from various denominations protested across Tamil Nadu on April 17 demanding the government to take action to stop increasing harassment and violence against Christians.

The protesters took to the streets in at least 16 cities and towns shouting slogans against government inaction to check violence against Christian community allegedly carried out by upper-caste Hindu groups.

In the last three months, over 15 anti-Christian activities have been reported, including the mysterious death of a pastor who was found dead a week after he complained to police about harassment from hard-line Hindus.

"We are facing lot of persecution in our state," synod general secretary K.B. Edison told ucanews.com.

"The peaceful protest was to get the attention of the state and federal government about the serious need for security and protection of the Christian minority," he added.

The protest was led by the Synod of Pentecostal Churches in Tamil Nadu.

"In the past four years we have faced many challenges. Our churches are being attacked, they are being burned, pastors' lives are under threat. We are not able to bear these atrocities. They are even burning Bibles," said Edison.

"We have approached the state government several times but disappointingly no action has been taken," he added.

Protestant and Catholic denominations too joined the protest.

"Hindu extremist forces are behind the attacks," Catholic Fr Gregory Rajan of the Infant Jesus Cathedral of Salem said.

Lack of a strong political leadership in the state have led the current government depend "on the BJP for policy and advice on the affairs of the state. Naturally, the local Hindu forces feel emboldened to attack Christians," he said.