India: Pentecostal Christians seek protection

March 2, 2016 (Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India):  Pentecostal Church affiliates in India have protested against “steadily increasing attacks on Christians,” and asked the government to intervene and shield them from violence.

The Tirunelveli District Pentecostal Churches Federation in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu said they were being attacked by Hindu fundamentalists who want them to stop preaching Christianity, even though the country mandates freedom of religion. The attacks have led them to question their belief that they lived in a democratic and tolerant country.

“Though we’re being targeted, we’ve never retaliated and done anything that would undermine the tranquility of society as Christianity is all about love, compassion and brotherhood,” Pastor Babu Paul Dinakaran, district secretary of the federation, told Bibles for Mideast.

He also asserted that they practice their faith without encroaching on others’ religious rights. “However, heads of a few Hindutva outfits are encouraging their cadres to orchestrate attacks against us,” he added.

Churches in India under attack

Churches in India under attack

They noted that even those distributing the pamphlets and praying in the prayer halls were being attacked. The federation urged the government to take lawful action against the perpetrators, and take down billboards that carry inflammatory messages against religions.

"Not only Pentecostals, but Christians in general are being attacked widely all over India,” says Pastor Paul of Bibles for Mideast. “We need to live and work peacefully according to our faith and for that we seek protection from persecution.”

The Catholic Secular Forum in India released a report identifying Tamil Nadu among the top five states with the highest numbers of anti-Christian attacks, with the state of Madhya Pradesh leading the list.