Church services disrupted at Chennai by radical group

  September 25, 2016

  Chennai, Tamil Nadu

  Complicity of Authorities, Intimidation, Threats and Harassment

A church in Kolattur, Chennai, Tamil Nadu has been in operation for the past ten years in a rented premises, on the second floor of a commercial complex which was earlier being used for conducting weddings. Subsequent to occupying the floor, they renovated it and have been using it to conduct Sunday Worship services.

On 31st Aug, 2016, few persons from a right wing religious group made an application to the local police station, demanding that the Christian prayers should be stopped for eleven days from 1st Sep to 11th Sep, 2016 as they planned to carry out other religious rituals and observances in the same building at the basement. Upon receiving the application, the inspector of the local police station directed the church members not to carry out any religious activity for eleven days. The Christians conceded to this special request in the interest of communal harmony and brotherhood.

Subsequently, on 18th Sep, the Christians conducted Sunday worship services as usual.

However, on Sep 25th, when the church members were gathering for Sunday worship service, much to their surprise they found policemen standing at the main entrance of the building. Police communicated that they had received a complaint from the same group expressing concerns that the continued existence of this church could cause communal tension in the area as there are Hindu temples around.

Following this, they were instructed to obtain the permission of the District Collector before being able to conduct Sunday worship services there.

The Christians are pained and feel needlessly harassed by this since they had been peacefully conducting these prayers for so many years.

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