India: Attack On Marthoma Church, Amlai, Madhya Pradesh

General October 19, 2007

EFI NEWS

Attack On Marthoma Church, Amlai, Madhya Pradesh


The Marthoma Church in Shahdol, Madhya Pradesh had organised a special meeting for
Christians on the morning of 2nd October 2007. There were about 100 people including
many women and children from the Christian community of the area.

At about 10:30 AM, a person came inside the church building, and introduced himself
as a journalist and started questioning the background of the people and purpose of
the meeting.

At about 11:00 AM, about 25 youth belonging to a fundamentalist group stormed the
church, shouting slogans to stop conversions. They used abusive language and
derogatory words against the Christians in the church, the fundamentalists were also
shouting false allegations against conversions. The leaders of the meeting clearly
told them that there were no conversion going on, and that all the present people in
the meeting were pastors and believers who had been Christians for many years. The
Group was not convinced and the Pastor was roughed up and Christians were threatened
to not hold such meetings.

Meanwhile someone from the congregation informed the local police, who reached the
spot around 12:30 PM. Pastor and leaders of the church were taken to nearby Amlai
Police Station. Senior police officers were also informed about the incident, who
later talked to the Pastor and leaders of the church and took them to the police
station. They were later released from the police station in the evening.

No written complaint was lodged by the church and thus no FIR has been registered
against the assailants so far.

Information of the attack came to the leaders of Chhattisgarh Christian Forum at
about 1 PM. The Forum took immediate steps to inform the Governor of Madhya Pradesh
and to build up pressure upon police and administration to take proper action
against the assailants and to protect the congregation and the church building.
Local pastors and leaders of Amlai, Dhanpuri and Burhar were mobilised to come
forward and express their solidarity with the Marthoma Church.

Please uphold the pastor and the congregation of the Marthoma Church Amlai, before
the Lord.

Richard Howell,
General Secretary.