RAIPUR: Strongly condemning the attack on a church, a pastor and his seven-month pregnant wife at Tokapal village in Bastar District, Chhattisgarh’s Christian Forum president Arun Pannalal on Tuesday said that such attacks were common across the state, adding that they had been left with no option.
“Earlier, we were optimistic about the judiciary as we are getting nothing except dates. And thus, we don’t have any option left with us,” said Pannalal while expressing his disappointment over repeated incidents of church attacks in the state.
“This was not the first incident. In 2005, a church was vandalised in Tokapal, which was on a private land. Such attacks are not happening just in Raipur, but across Chhattisgarh. Nearly 20-25 churches have been attacked so far this year,” he said while pointing out one of the reasons behind the attacks on churches is some people have problem with our religion.
“They are targeting the Christian community so that they could ‘keep alive an object of hate’ for their own end that is why they are using our community,” he added.
Unfolding the incident that took place at the Tokapal church, Pannalal said that a group of 10 to 12 people with their heads covered with saffron bandana and armed with sticks, swords and knife entered the church premises at around 7p.m. on Sunday.
“They started hurling abuses and asked the people present in the church to raise slogans of ‘Jai Sri Ram’. Their activity left the people confused. In the meantime, the hooligans poured patrol on pastor and his wife, who is seven months pregnant. Fearing worst, the pastor and his wife ran out of the church while crying for help,” he said.
“When they ran out of the church, the hooligans splattered patrol on the church surface and walls and set it on fire,” he said.
“Hearing the pastor and his wife’s cry for help, the residents of nearby villages ran towards the church. However, by the time they reached there, the hooligans disappeared into the darkness of the night,” he added.
Recalling an encouraging order earlier from the High Court, Pannalal said, “We had challenged a Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s resolution passed at a gram sabha in which they had prohibited the entry of non-Hindus, including Christians, to a village.”