Hindu extremists in the Coimbatore District of the Tamil Nadu state in India, put pressure on local authorities to close the doors of ten Christian churches. Officials and police put a hold on their worship services, telling them they must receive permission from local authorities to continue.
Hindu extremist groups Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Hanuman Sena issued complaints to the district revenue officer, who immediately told the churches that they must cease their activities. The extremists have issued similar complaints against 20 other churches, Morning Star News reports.
Pastor and president of the Synod of Pentecostal Churches of Coimbatore, Johnson Sathyanathan, explained, “It is a well-planned conspiracy against the Christian community, as the Hindu extremists know that it is not easy to approach the collector’s office for such permissions.” He added, “The time to get such approvals can stretch from a year and a half to many more years.”
The churches sent a group to raise concern about the orders with Minister of Internal Affairs Tamil Nadu. He spoke to several local authorities and their local Member of the Legislative Assembly of Sulur with the hope that the churches can resume their services.
Pastor Sathyanatha said, “Altogether there are 10 churches that have been directly affected in the last two months.” He continued, “They are all residents of the area, and people have never had trouble with these churches before. These pastors have been doing ministry for many years now.” He explained that churches in other parts of India have been affected by the Hindu extremists trying to shut down their worship services.
The Assemblies of God Church in Thennampalayam, a non-denominational congregation in Myleripalayam, as well as churches in Sulur and Kalampalayam, have been affected by Hindu groups who have become more aggresive in targeting Christians and Catholics.
So far, the churches are receiving very little support from local officials.
“They said that they can do nothing about it, and why should we create unnecessary trouble, that instead we should go ahead and get legal permission for our churches,” Pastor Sathyanathan told Morning Star News.
The RSS is a Hindu extremist paramilitary organization that is suspected of being the front group for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.