Hindu ex­trem­ists ar­rested af­ter van­dal­ism

The Church of England - - NEWS -

FOUR Hindu ex­trem­ists have been ar­rested by police in the south­ern In­dian state of Tamil Nadu af­ter they van­dalised a newly built church.

On 12 March a mob of Hindu ac­tivists over­pow­ered a police guard and burst into a wor­ship ser­vice at the Church of South In­dia’s par­ish in Kala­p­atti.

“The at­tack­ers broke the main door of the church, dam- aged the fur­ni­ture, al­tar and the stained glass,” Prince Calvin, general sec­re­tary of the church’s Coim­bat­ore dio­cese, told ucanews.com.

They also warned Chris­tians gath­ered in the church for a prayer ser­vice of “dire con­se­quences if they con­tin­ued wor­ship­ping there,” he said.

The ex­trem­ists de­manded Chris­tians leave the com­mu­nity, claim­ing they had no right to build a church on land they al­lege had been stolen.

How­ever, the CSI re­ports the Lon­don Mis­sion So­ci­ety pur­chased the land in 1926 and built a small church on the prop­erty in 1948. Last year con­struc­tion on a new larger fa­cil­ity be­gan to ac­com­mo­date the com­mu­nity’s grow­ing Chris­tian pop­u­la­tion.

How­ever, Hindu ac­tivists claimed the land be­longed to a nearby tem­ple, and filed suit in the Madras High Court seek­ing to block con­struc­tion.

The Court re­jected their claim and al­lowed con­struc­tion to be­gin, and di­rected the police to pro­tect the site.

Lo­cal press ac­counts of the in­ci­dent re­port police are search­ing for five other men iden­ti­fied as be­ing part of the mob who van­dalised the church.

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