A group of hardline Hindus in southern India torched down a church building and a Christian pastor's home this month because they were upset that some of their members converted to Christianity, according to local sources.
In an interview with Morning Star News, Pastor John Muller recounted how he and his wife left their home in Attipattu village in Tamil Nadu state on May 3 to go to a store to pick up Vacation Bible School materials he had ordered. This gave attackers an opportunity to torch down their church building and their adjoining house. The attack notably took place three days after he received threats from five Hindu hardliners.
"They said, 'Don't stay here â€“ get out of this area, or we will see your end.' Recently, some villagers belonging to Vanniyar, a caste-based Hindu sect, came to Christ," Pastor Muller told Morning Star. "The same caste group opposes conversions in the village because they treat Christianity as a religion of lower castes. They don't want anyone from Vanniyar to convert to Christianity."
Pastor Muller lamented the result of the attack because there are 40 families who go to the worship services at the church. Most of all, his wife is already in the 26th week of her first pregnancy and they are homeless.
As of now, Pastor Muller and his wife are staying at the house of a kind Christian. A complaint has already been filed with the police on May 3, but the pastor said the cops were paid off by the attackers.
The attack on Pastor Muller's church and home is only one of the latest string of attacks targeting Christians in India. Based on a new report by the All India Christian Council, the number of such attacks rose by 20 percent in 2016, and politically motivated attacks have jumped to alarming rates since Hindu nationalists won in the March 2017 elections, Release International details.
In addition, physical violence against Christians has reportedly increased by 40 percent. Murders, on the other hand, have doubled. Other attacks being experienced by Christians in various Indian states include threats, forced conversion to Hinduism, disruption of church services, and church bombings and demolitions.