Another case of church being burnt and destroyed came into limelight from Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh on Sunday morning of September 7, 2008.
Barthlomew Protestant Church in Ratlam was brought to ashes when some unidentified people set fire to the church. The fire damaged the Holy Cross and other furniture besides completely gutting all official records. Once a historic stone walled 90 year old church is now a heap of burnt furniture.
At least three persons entered the church from rear window and set the church on fire, Noel Pare said, adding the motive behind the incident was not yet known. The caretaker of church, found the ancient structure burning at 4.00 am on Sunday and alerted the fire brigade which later doused the flames.
Speaking with Evangelical Fellowship of India, a member of the United Christian Council in Ratlam recalled an attack on this church on August 15, 2008, when around 70-80 hindu fundamentalists barged into the church during a prayer meeting and threatened the worshippers of dire consequences. It has to be noted that the police didn’t file the F.I.R at that time. Since then the members of the church feared an untoward incident.
Their worst fears came true when they heard the news of their church being set on fire by the miscreants.
Pastor Jose Matthew, Secretary of United Christian Council, Ratlam, conjectured that the ire of the Hindu fundamentalist on the Church descended because of the Memorandum submitted to the Collector in protest against the Orissa violence and the attack on the Church on August 15, 2008.
Large number of community members gathered at the church following the incident expressing shock over the fire.
Meanwhile Ratlam Collector Mahendra Gyani has ordered a magisterial probe into the incident.
EFI requests your prayers for the Christians in Madhya Pradesh. Please state your concern with the authorities at the below mentioned Phone numbers:
Suprintendent of Police, Ratlam
(O) Tel : +91-07412-230400
(O) Tel : +91-07412-2356299
Rev. Dr. Richard Howell
Evangelical Fellowship of India
New Delhi, India
Evangelical Fellowship of India (established 1951) is a charter member of World Evangelical Alliance, an accredited NGO with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations