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Indian high court allows church to reopen in time for Easter


18 April 2019

An Indian church shut down by local authorities eight months ago was provided with an Easter blessing by a high court that ruled it could reopen … just in time for Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter Day.

The Allahabad High Court also directed local officials to ensure Pastor Satyen Biswakarma and his congregation were protected so that they could “conduct prayer services in peace”.

The church, in the Siddharth Nagar district of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, was shut down after a group of people claiming to be state intelligence officers invaded a prayer meeting on 16 September 2018.

Caption
The Allahabad High Court (pictured) has ruled that a church in the Siddharth Nagar district of India's Uttar Pradesh state can reopen after it was shut down by local authorities [Image credit: Vroomtrapit]

Later, police officers visited and told the pastor he needed to apply for official permission before he could resume holding services.

Lawyers of the Christian advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) challenged the shut down at the high court and the ruling was passed down on 12 April.

“The court has protected the idea of India as outlined in the Constitution. No one should be targeted for their faith,” said ADF India director Tehmina Arora.