After some high "caste" Hindus converted to Christianity and joined the Church, other Hindus burned down the place of worship and the home of its pastor in southern India this month.
Pastor John Muller and his pregnant wife found their church building and adjoining home in Attipattu village in Tamil Nadu state's Cuddalore District burnt down after they said they came home from a nearby store, according to Morning Star News.
About 40 families attend the worship services at the church, according to the Christian Post.
The pastor reported being threatened by five people three days prior to the fire. "They said, 'Don't stay here - get out of this area, or we will see your end,'" he said.
"Recently, some villagers belonging to Vanniyar, a caste-based Hindu sect, came to Christ," Muller told Morning Star. "The same caste group opposes conversions in the village because they treat Christianity as a religion of lower castes. They don't want anyone from Vanniyar to convert to Christianity."
Muller said he and his wife lost all their possessions. "My wife is 26 weeks pregnant. We are expecting our first child. We are homeless. A kind believer is letting us rest in his house during nights for now."
A recent All India Christian Council report exposed that violent attacks on the Christian minority in India are mounting at an alarming rate, as members of groups close to the governing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party seek to create a "Hindu nation." The report stated attacks against Christians increased by about 20 percent in 2016, and physical violence against Christians was up by as much as 40 percent.
A fresh attack is being reported every 40 hours, the report outlined.
"The attacks have become severe and more frequent. Incidents used to be confined to a few states. Now the violence has spread to 23 states," the report noted.
In March, 100-plus members of U.S. Congress wrote a letter to India's interior minister, urging him to allow U.S.-based Christian child sponsorship organization Compassion International to continue its work in that country. The charity ended its programs in India amid an ongoing crackdown by the BJP government on nonprofits that receive foreign funds.
Read prior coverage in The Gospel Herald: Compassion International Forced to Leave India Due to Government Intervention
Indian government officials alleged that Compassion International was funding religious conversions.