Over 50 house churches were not allowed to hold worship services in Madhya Pradesh’s Jhabua district on October 19.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and other radical Hindutva organizations nationalist sent out a notice to Christians in Jhabua forbidding them from gathering, according to International Christian Concern (ICC).
Locals and members of Hindu outfits today gathered near the open site outside Sector 37 police station where Namaz was offered last Friday. The members conducted Havan claiming that they are here to commemorate 26/11 martyrs. @TOIGurgaon pic.twitter.com/tL9lnAQch6— Sagrika Kissu (@SagrikaKissu) November 26, 2021
Talking to ICC, a local pastor said, “I read the circular last Friday and decided not to have worship on Sunday. The last five months have been difficult. Our congregation has been reduced from 40 members to 15. Even these 15 are now scared.”
The notice clearly stated that churches were not allowed to gather unless they had special permission from the local magistrate, the media report said, adding that it went viral on social media causing many believers to cancel worship.
People from the Christian community in Jhabua are concerned that they will no longer be allowed to exercise their religious freedom rights which are guaranteed by the Indian Constitution.
The pastor further said, “I know as a pastor that I need to endure hardships and persecution for my faith. But I am worried about those who are showing interest and coming newly to worship with us.”
Christians make up about three percent of the population in India, but according to CBN News, persecution against believers has increased within the last year.
This year, in the first nine months there were more than 300 incidents of significant Christian persecution, according to a fact-finding report by Counter Current Org.
The rise in attacks against Christians comes due to the increasing level of Hindutva ideology that encourages radical Hindus to assault the believers through mob violence.
A.C. Michael, the National Coordinator of the United Christian Forum, told ICC, “The fears which are being fueled of Christians converting Hindus are baseless.”
Although persecution is increasing against the community, few of them in the Jhabua district are taking a stand.
Over 300 pastors and Christian leaders met with authorities regarding the notice that banned them from holding church services. The delegation has submitted a memorandum requesting the fair treatment of all communities in the MP district, including the Christian minority.