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Radicals follow similar pattern to shut down house churches in Uttar Pradesh

Wednesday, January 29, 2020, 23:46 (IST)

Members of the Hindu Vahini group in Uttar Pradesh broke into a house church in Maholi village and threatened to kill the pastor, which lead to the closure of the church.

The incident that occurred on January 5 followed the same pattern that radical Hindu nationalists use to harass churches in the region and close down them with the help of government officials.

According to the house church pastor Veerendar Kumar, the church hosted 30 Christians who attended Sunday worship every week.

On January 5, while the Sunday worship was still going on, three men who claimed to be the leaders of the Hindu Vahini group interrupted the worship and verbally abused the pastor.

Pastor Kumar told International Christian Concern (ICC) that the radicals first interrogated him and called him a "foreigner." "They said I have no right to live in India and they also told me that they will chase me out of the village or kill me if I continued to hold prayers."

"The next day, more than 40 people came to the church and this time they came to beat me up," pastor Kumar continued. "By God's grace I was not present at the church. However, church members told me that there was a dangerous situation and I should not go to that village to avoid a possible attack."

Local Christians from the village even saw police visiting the house church several times and they suspected that the police were there to arrest pastor Kumar.

Since January 5, pastor Kumar has not entered his village and is staying in a place that is 12 miles away from Maholi.

Many local pastors in Uttar Pradesh are facing similar harassment from Hindu radicals who interrupt worship service, falsely accuse Christians and eventually shut down the house churches.