Hindu flags forcibly placed on church rooftops in India
A group of Hindu activists climbed on top of four churches in the Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh and placed saffron flags, a symbol of Hindu nationalism, on top of the crosses.
Local Christians reported several incidents on the on the evening of the “Pran Pratistha” ceremony of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh. Following the inauguration of the Ram Mandir Temple on the 22nd of January, Hindus have been celebrating the birthplace of their deity, Rama.
However, Hindu activists expressed their contempt for Christians by installing saffron flags on top of crosses on four churches. Three of the affected places of worship were Protestant prayer halls related to the Shalom Church, and the fourth was part of the Church of South India. There is video footage of the activists shouting, “Jai Shri Ram” and tying the saffron flags to the crosses. The incidents occurred in four villages: Dabtalai, Matasula, Uberao, and Dhamaninathu.
According to Paul Muniya, the pastor of the Dabalai Shalom church, around 50 activists were involved. “The church service had just finished and the congregation had left. Only a few church members were yet to leave, when this mob barged into the premises. They told the Christians that they had better stop following the Christian faith and return to the Hindu fold. They said that India is becoming a Hindu nation and they will return to demolish the church if it continues to stand there.”
Members of the Hindu mob forcefully placed another saffron flag on the roof of a pastor’s home in the Gariyaband district of Chhattisgarh. They threatened the pastor, ordering him not to remove the flag, otherwise they would strike back. The police took the pastor into custody on false charges of creating a disturbance. A local Christian shared his concerns over growing anti-Christian attacks: “There is an increased psychological fear and anxiety that every minority is feeling in this country. No rule of law can help with this situation, and further, there is an unexplained hallow and suppression deep within every Christian over what is happening in this land. Only God can intervene.”