London. 7 March.(BF) Christians have been attacked and church buildings and other property damaged during the upsurge in violence in the Indian state of Gujarat.
Reports indicate that a number of church buildings have been damaged and that at least one has been burnt down. When four Christians were on their way to the police station to report an attack on a Church-run school in Khurda village, they were assaulted by militant Hindu activists. One sustained head injuries and had to be taken to hospital, while the others received minor injuries. In Sanjeli town the pastor of one church and his wife had to move to a safer place. Other Christians have received threatening telephone calls.
Christian leaders had added their voice to calls for an end to the violence. The All India Christian Council has also called for a ban on Hindu extremist groups that targeted Christians during the rioting. The violence broke out after a train carrying Hindu activists was set alight in Godhra on 27 February by Muslims. Some 58 people died in the fire and over 600 more were killed in the subsequent wave of revenge attacks mainly targeted at Muslims. A large-scale deployment of police and troops has helped to reduce the level of violence but many people remain fearful.