The Religious Liberty Commission of the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI-RLC) has condemned the "dastardly attack" on the Nazarene Church at Sehkari Nagar, Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh on July 16, 2014, which happened a few days after another Church in village Saraiya, Jaunpur district was attacked.
The evangelical body claims it is a "direct consequence of the recent and rapid communalisation of Uttar Pradesh and other parts of the country."
According to the complaints of pastors and other members of the Nazarene church- who are victims, a group of Bajrang Dal activists attacked the Church at around 2:30 pm on July 16, 2014 when a function was going on inside the premises. The attackers were led by one Mr. Hemant Singh, who has been identified as the area coordinator of Bajrang Dal.
The gang ransacked the Church, beat up the pastor, Rev. R C Paul, broke the Cross and other Church furniture.
Rev. R C Paul said: "We have regular worship services every Wednesday. Today while this was going on as usual, suddenly a mob of people from the Bajrang Dal entered the church premise and started beating us up. They also desecrated the altar, broke furniture and objects of worship. Even our women were not spared as the attckers misbehaved with them. After beating us up the attackers hoisted a saffron flag on the top of the church building and threatened us with dire consequences if the church was not closed down."
The police arrested Hemant Singh and Yogendra Kumar of the Bajrang Dal from the spot. A complaint has been filed by Rev. R C Paul which names 8 other unidentified members of the Bajrang Dal.
The Bajrang Dal activists staged a protest outside the residence of the Suprintendent of Police in Bulandshahr late at night demanding release of those arrested in the case.
The Nazarene church at Sehkari Nagar village has been in existence since 1991.
Earlier this month on July 7, 2014, a Church in village Saraiya, PO Tarti, Tahsil Madiyahun, Jaunpur District, Eastern Uttar Pradesh was attacked by members of Shiv Sena and BJP. The local BJP leader, Harendra Pratap Singh, and the leader of the local Shiv Sena, Acche Lal Tiwari, were leading this attack.
Instead of protecting the Christians and registering their complaint, the police took the Pastor and 11 other Christians into custody for some time.
The EFIRLC has appealed to Mr. Akhilesh Yadav, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, to take notice of these motivated attacks against the Christian community and initiate urgent action to protect the minority community from communal forces who seem to attack with impunity.
Evangelical Fellowship of India (established 1951) is a charter member of World Evangelical Alliance, an accredited NGO with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
Christian body condemns increasing attacks on Christians in Uttar Pradesh
Published 24 July 2014 | Babu Thomas