Followers of a Hindu religion in India seized a Protestant church and removed its cross and held a “purification” ceremony in the building that was once used to worship Jesus Christ.
UCA News reported that on Oct. 20, 50 tribunal people from the Sarna faith took down the cross from Vishwa Vani church in Khadnga village, Jharkhand state. They converted the building into a community hall following a purification ceremony.
The Sarna people, who make up close to 5 million in India, have claimed that Christian missionaries have taken over thousands of acres of tribal land in violation of state law, buildings churches, schools, hospitals and other establishments with the mission of converting others to Christianity.
Pastor Emmanuel Kujur, coordinator of the Protestant group in the state, said that the ground on which the church was built on was disputed, adding that it had been donated by a tribal Christian. He clarified that a local magistrate ruled that the land belonged to the government.
“But that does not give anyone the right to capture the church. The dispute continues between the brothers. Until it is settled, how can someone take it over?” the pastor asked.
Catholic Bishop Vincent Barwa of Simdega argued that there are political undertones concerning the seizure of the church.
“This is part of the hidden agenda of the BJP to divide tribal people as Christian and non-Christian ahead of elections,” he said, referring to the ruling nationalistic party.
Barwa added that the takeover serves as a warning for Christians in the state, arguing that the BJP party allows these kinds of activities against Christians.
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Source: Christian Post