Church in India turns into Hindu Temple
Christians are alarmed as the Seventh-day Adventist Church at Asroi village, 30km South of Aligarh city, Uttar Pradesh was turned into a Hindu Temple overnight reportedly after 71 Valmikis returned to Hinduism. On Tuesday, elaborate shuddhi karan (purification) ceremony was held inside the church and a portrait of Shiva was installed and the cross inside the church was removed.
Hindu groups in Aligarh has termed it as "successful ghar wapasi" (recoversion) of 72 Valmikis who embraced Christianity in 1995. Meanwhile, Christians have raised doubt over such move. Mr. Osmond Charles, a Christian lawyer and community leader in Aligarh isn't convinced and raised his doubt. "Ghar wapasi sounds like a conspiracy," he was quoted. "Sometimes we hear 'love jihad' and now we have 'ghar wapasi'. Is this the sing of a Hindu Rashtra in the making?" Charles cautioned.
Meanwhile, Rev. Jonathan Lal, Pastor at City Methodist Church lamented the purification pooja that took place inside the church which belongs to the Seventh-day Adventists. "Such an activity shouldn't have taken place there. Faith is a personal matter but havan inside a church is not," he said.
The Archbishop of Mumbai Cardinal Oswald Gracias expressed his sadness over what happened. "For hundreds of years, the Catholic Church has been in the service of the poor and marginalised," he explained.
In Uttar Pradesh, "violence continues," said Sajan K George, President of the Global Council of Indian Christians. "Hatred, intolerance and violence against the small Christian community are now at alarming levels. In July alone, local Hindu fundamentalist leaders carried out two violent attacks against Christians. The police blamed Christians instead of protecting them and their rights" he added.
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