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12 people seriously injured as mob sets fire to church

by Eno Adeogun

The British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) suspected the attack on Sehal Christ Church in Nowshera was done in revenge to the perceived murder of a forcibly converted Hindu woman.

The charity said Seema Devi died after battling an illness but following a local newspaper reporting that her uncle suggested she didn't willingly convert from her Hindu faith to Christianity, locals began to believe her husband murdered her.

Christians attending the church for prayers were beaten by the mob that later turned their attention to Christian run businesses, causing "thousands of pounds worth of damage".

A local Christian named William Masih, told BPCA officer Pastor Naresh: "I am totally shocked by what happened I saw innocent Christians flee from the church and saw two Christian shops being looted before they were razed to the ground.

"The violence was unwarranted and has left much fear amongst local Christians, we already feel marginalised.

"Despite Police witnessing the attack we expect little justice and the perpetrators of the violence will probably escape capture by the police."

BPCA said the exhumed body of Seema was also set on fire as part of a Hindu burial ritual.

Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the BPCA said: "This attack on Innocent Christians highlights the increasing hatred towards non-Hindus in an India that has become increasingly polarized under the Narendra Modi regime.

"Despite having signed the UN convention for Human Rights, India does little to uphold article 18 which promotes freedom of religion and belief.

"Anti-conversion laws that are a clear breach of these conventions have been introduced in several states throughout India and are now being used to settle personal vendettas and persecute religious minorities."

The charity has opened an appeal to assist with the rebuilding of the church and two businesses set ablaze.

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