by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - Hindu extremists on February 5 destroyed two church buildings in separate states in India, Voice of the Martyrs Canada (VOM) reports. Persecution against Christians in India has intensified greatly since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014.
One of the churches destroyed on February 5 was the 40-year old Catholic St. Anthony's Holy Cross Center located near the city of Mangalore in Karnataka state. Refugees and impoverished families attended the center for help, but Hindu nationalists claimed it was an illegal structure that should be destroyed, VOM reports.
The second church destroyed on the same day was located in Kistaram in the state of Chhattisgarh; some 100 people regularly attended for prayer meetings and Bible studies in the building, VOM reports. It has been reported that a local police officer may have ordered the church to be burned down after local believers refused to stop holding services there: the Chhattisgarh Christian Forum has filed a complaint with the Director-General of Police, asking for an investigation. The Forum has also raised the issue with the Human Rights Commission and the Minorities Commission.
“Pray that justice will prevail in both cases, asking the Lord to work within the hearts and minds of those in India who are violently opposed to Christianity,” VOM asked readers in its report. “Pray that the leaders of both churches will receive wisdom so they may discern the best way to move forward, as well as the resources required to rebuild their worship facilities.”
India ranks 10 on the US Open Doors Watch List 2022 of top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted. Prior to the coming to power of the Hindu nationalist BJP in 2014, India had ranked 31 on the list.