Christians in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh have called on India’s president to provide protection amid open threats from Hindu activists to demolish their churches.
“Hindu activists mostly from Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP—world Hindu Council] have set a deadline to demolish our churches on Sept. 26, alleging they are illegal structures,” said Auxiliary Bishop Paul Muniya of the Protestant Shalom Church based in the state’s Jhabua district, which is dominated by tribal people.
VHP has also issued threats to the indigenous Christians against practicing Christianity and are forcing them to return to Hinduism, he told on Sept. 20.
“We handed over a memorandum to Indian President Ram Nath Kovind through the district collector on Sept. 17 seeking his urgent intervention to ensure the safety and security of the indigenous Christians,” the prelate said.
Bishop Muniya further alleged that local administrators were siding with the right-wing groups and harassing Christians who make up 4 percent of the one million population in the district, leading to a rise in anti-Christian violence.
Father Maria Stephan, public relations officer of the Catholic Church in Madhya Pradesh, said both the revenue and police administration of the district were biased against Christians.