A mob of more than 1,000 protestors have attacked a Catholic church in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh .
They used rocks, iron rods, and wooden sticks in a rampage that destroyed the entire church complex.
Several police officers were injured while trying to stop the violence.
Parish priest of Sacred Heart Church Father Jomon Devasia confirmed the damage to the church was profound.
He told UCA News: “A tense situation prevails here. The mob destroyed everything, the church and the presbytery.”
The protestors were mostly tribal people reportedly opposing ‘illegal’ conversions and the construction of churches according to anti-persecution advocates Global Christian Relief.
Its CEO David Curry said many Christians had also been driven out of their homes by the extremists.
“If strong action isn’t taken quickly, there is a very real risk these attacks will spiral into even more widespread violence against Chhattisgarh’s Christian community and elsewhere,” he said.
“Local police need to consult with local Christian leaders and respond to any requests for help before further damage can be done.”
Mr. Curry called on the US State Department to address the increasing persecution of believers with Indian officials.
Archbishop Victor Henry Thakur of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Raipur which takes in Sacred Heart Church had a different theory on what sparked the violence.
“The attacks have nothing to do with religious conversions of Hindus as has been made out. It is a clear case of a law and order problem,” he told UCA News.
“The state police did not initiate action against the groups that unleashed violence against Christians earlier. Now, they are fearlessly attacking us,” he added.