An under-construction Protestant church in the southern Indian state of Telangana was demolished by a mob of radical Hindus on January 20. Gethsemane Prardana Mandiram (church) in Mahabubabad was attacked by a group of Hindu fanatics headed by a leader named Bura Venakanna, said Pastor Muhammad Afzal Paul.
“Local Christians believe that the main reason for the attack is that there are around 80 churches of different denominations in a radius of 10 kilometres, which the Bajrang Dal [a radical Hindu group] could not accept,” Pastor Levi of the Power of Jesus Fellowship, a Protestant church, told.
“The local administration has stationed some police officers at the church attack site and it is under investigation. The church is very small with about 100 members.
“A Muslim named Muhammad Afzal, who converted to Christianity and who is now known as Pastor Muhammad Afzal Paul, takes care of the attacked church. Christians are terrified but believe that the investigation will have no impact as most probably the officials will ask both parties to compromise.
“The majority of people in Mahabubabad are Hindus. There is a chance that the issue will go in their favour but we have full faith in the system and believe the truth will come out.”
However, Pastor Samuel of Maranatha Prarthana Mandiram, another Protestant church, said these incidents are occasionally reported in the media and attacks on the church are suspected land disputes. “Some vested interest people want to sort out a land dispute and take the law into their hands,” he added.