Many Hindus believe that conversion to Christianity is an attack on their culture and way of life, and an imminent threat to both, despite the fact that Christianity has been a presence in India since the days of St. Thomas the Apostle. The Indian Orthodox Church, or Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church, severed communion with the Church of Constantinople in 451, over the definition of the natures of Christ at the Fourth Ecumenical Council, the Council of Chalcedon.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in India, see here.

“MP: Hindutva mob hoists saffron flags over 4 Christian prayer halls, no FIR filed,” by Sumedha Mittal, News Laundry, January 23, 2024:

A mob of Hindutva activists reportedly climbed on top of four Christian prayer halls after Sunday mass, and hoisted the saffron flag while chanting Jai Shri Ram, in Ranapur tehsil of Madhya Pradesh’s Jhabua district.

While three of these halls – in Dhamaninathu, Dabtalai and Uberao – are managed by the Protestant Shalom Church, the Church of South India runs the fourth in Matasula village. All these spots are located near each other. 

Videos of the incident, which took place on Sunday under Ranapur police station limits, have been widely circulated on social media after Congress leader Digvijaya Singh posted visuals on Twitter. Ranapur SHO Shankar Singh Raghuvanshi confirmed the episode though an FIR is yet to be filed. “If anyone approaches us to lodge an FIR, we will definitely register one,” he said.

While Pastor Paul Muniya from the Shalom Church said they were in the process of compiling a report to file a police complaint, Pastor Godwin of CSI told Newslaundry that the church is considering whether a complaint has to be filed.

“A crowd started their rally on motorcycles from a local market in Ranapur block and ended with hoisting saffron flags. It all seemed pre-planned… They were also carrying lathis…The crowd swelled as they moved from one prayer hall to another, starting with about 60 people at the time of first flag hoisting to over 200 people in the last one,” claimed Pastor Muniya.

Pastor Godwin said the police reached the spot immediately after the incident and took down the flags. 

However, Pastor Muniya alleged that the police tried to convince them not to lodge a complaint. “They also advised us to handle the situation with love as taught in our religion, and assured that they will lodge an FIR if such an incident takes place again but for now don’t say anything because they said there is a lot of pressure from the top.”…

“This is the first time I witnessed any such incident in our district. It has happened in the light of the Ram Mandir event in Ayodhya. The youth, especially, were too charged about it. We tried to calm down the crowd, by saying whatever you are doing is not right and hurts the religious sentiments of other people. But they were out of control and were not ready to listen to anyone,” said Pastor Godwin.