Three churches were torn down in the sensitive Aceh region in Indonesia on Monday, days after a church was burned down by a mob of Muslims hardliners.
The demolition of churches in the special autonomous region of Aceh, which is the only province in the country with the highest population of Muslims to implement the Islamic sharia law, began on the demand of locals who had claimed that the churches had no permits.
The tensions between the minority Christians and the Muslims heightened last week after a mob burnt down a church in the Aceh Singkil district, and at least one person was killed in the violence.
On Monday, a Catholic church and two Protestant churches in the Indonesian province were razed using sledgehammers by security forces even as Christian families stood by and watched, many crying, AFP reported.
The Christians had been informed of the government's decision to demolish the churches after they reportedly admitted to not having permits for them, according to Reuters.
Seven other churches in the area will be torn down in the next few days in what is being seen as increasing religious intolerance in the hardline Islamic province even as the rest of Indonesia follows moderate Islam.
Aceh, located on Indonesia's Sumatra island, became a autonomous region in 2005, following years of violence by separatists.