Extremists attack 500 church women; 2 Christian leaders jailed.

By April 2, 2007

India (MNN) — A registered church's pastor was arrested Sunday, March 25, and 500 of the church's women were ambushed.

"The increase in violent attacks against Christians in several states in India is disturbing," said Carl Moeller, president /CEO of Open Doors

At the close of the morning church service, one of four police officers observing the service approached Pastor Rajendra Chauhan.  Later the police inspector arrived and demanded that Chauhan and another pastor be arrested and taken to the police station. 

After several attempts, Open Doors has had no contact with the men who were arrested. The police inspector, however, informed Open Doors that the men have been charged with hurting religious sentiments under the Indian Penal Code, and bail currently cannot be granted.

In late 2006, Chauhan's church was involved in a disinformation campaign with the secular media. When members of the church stated in writing that they had chosen to become Christians and had not been forced, the issue was finally resolved. Despite the sensitivity, 1000 people were attending Chauhan's church each Sunday from areas nearby.    

The same day the two pastors were arrested, approximately 500 women on their way home from church in Kuddupur village were beaten by extremists. The attackers were waiting near the road with wooden sticks and benches to ambush everyone who went by. Though police were called in, they reportedly did nothing to stop the mayhem. It finally died down only when the women escaped.

"In the first three months of this year alone, the intensity and frequency of the persecution has increased dramatically," said Moeller. "Please keep these marginalized Christians in your prayers."

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