Mob encircles Christian priests, one held for alleged conversion in Madhya Pradesh

Right-wing Hindu activists attacked Catholic carol singers in Madhya Pradesh's Satna district and also set a priest's car ablaze, accusing them of religious conversion.

Published: 16th December 2017 01:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th December 2017 10:20 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BHOPAL: A 60-year-old director-cum-professor of an educational institution has been arrested in Satna district of Madhya Pradesh for allegedly indulging in religious conversion activities. M George was arrested following a complaint by local youth Dharmendra Dohar, who alleged that George and his aides tried to convert him to Christianity with the new name Dharmendra Thomas on December 10.

“Six people, including George and five unidentified aides, have been booked under provisions of Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act 1968 and under Sections 153 and 295 of IPC for hurting religious feelings of a community. George has been arrested,” Satna SP Rajesh Hingankar said on Friday.

On Thursday evening, 40-plus seminarians and priests were brought to the Civil Lines police station in Satna after a mob encircled them while they were singing Christmas carols in Bhumkahar village.

Satna’s Bajrang Dal leader Sachin Shukla claimed district Bajrang Dal convener Yatindra Pathak informed police about the Christian missionaries indulging in conversion activities in the village.

A car belonging to a Christian priest Father George Joseph was set ablaze by unidentified men outside the police station while he was inside to meet the detained people. A case has been registered against unidentified men for setting his car afire.

Sources told The New Indian Express that a man named

Martin—who was going to meet the priests and seminarians at the police station—was attacked by Bajrang Dal activists. Police denied the attack.

“The charge of conversion on which the priests and seminarians are detained is frivolous and laughable. The violence perpetrated by groups who claim to be nationalists and have taken upon themselves the mantle of protecting nationalism and religion is disgraceful.

The complicity of the police who arrested the seminarians and stood by helplessly as the priests and seminarians were assaulted is disgusting and appalling,” Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India said in a statement.

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