Church attacked in Telangana over land dispute; 21 Christians injured; 3 critical

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At least 21 Christians, including two children, were left injured on February 13, at Janwada village, Shankarpally mandal, Rangareddy district, Telangana following an attack on a Methodist Church by a mob led by Hindu right-wing members.

The attack on the Methodist Church took place over a land dispute related to the widening of a public road near the Church.

According to Pastor Naveen Solomon, the attack was unprovoked and appalling, given the previously good relations between the Church and the village community. “We have had very good relations with the community here and that included visiting each other during our festivals, so this attack was shocking,” he told Christian Today.

At least 21 Christians including two children were injured, with 12 people admitted to the Government Hospital in Kondapur and three in critical condition with head injuries. Nine were discharged after first aid, while the three critical patients were later shifted to Aaron Hospital in Secunderabad. 

Injured Christian in the attack.

The clashes erupted over laying a cement road that reportedly passed through church premises. The villagers wanted to extend the road by eight feet into the church’s land, sparking objections from church members and an argument ensued between the village sarpanch, Mandal Praja Parishad, ward members and church members.

A mob of around 200 people, including members of the dominant Yadav, Mudiraj and Backward Class castes linked to the Hindu nationalist group Bajrang Dal, barged into the church and attacked the 30-person congregation with stones, bricks and sticks. They also broke down the church doors and damaged the crucifix while chanting Hindu slogans.

Goneh Solomon Raj, the general secretary of the Telangana United Christian Pastors Association, condemned the violence, attributing it to the mob’s attempt to appropriate church land without consent. The attack, he claimed, was part of a broader pattern of intimidation and encroachment targeting minority religious communities.

Cyberabad Police Commissioner Avinash Mohanty imposed Section 144 prohibiting gatherings of over five people for a week following the attack.

Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) Deputy Engineer V Ravinder filed a complaint against Bajrang Dal members for threatening workers to extend the road onto church compound land against his objections. However, village leaders also made a counter-complaint against the church members.

An FIR was filed by Goudicherla Narsimha against five Dalit Christians for unlawful assembly, obstruction and criminal intimidation under various sections of the Indian Penal Code. Police arrested five Christians, according to media reports.

The sudden outburst of communal violence has shocked the region. With Hindu nationalist sentiments on the rise, hard-line groups like Bajrang Dal have been increasingly asserting themselves and stirring tensions with religious minorities.

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