Madhya Pradesh: 30 Priests, Singing Christmas Carols, Detained in Satna After Bajrang Dal Activists Accused Them of Forced Conversion
Satna, Dec 16: Over 30 priests were detained at a village near Madhya Pradesh’s Satna town on Thursday for singing Christmas carols. One of them was even arrested on Friday under the anti-conversion law of the state. The action was reportedly taken on the complaint of Bajrang Dal activists who accused them of forced conversion.
Some of the priests were released on Friday, however they alleged the members of the right-wing group had roughed them up on the premises of the police station. Noteworthy, a report in The Indian Express quotes Bajrang Dal activists and the police denying all such allegations. (ALSO SEE – Santa Claus Rescues Woman Who Slipped On Icy Street In UK: Watch Video)
Reports say that on Friday, eight priests who came to the Civil Lines Police Station to inquire about the detentions made on Thursday were also detained and their car was torched. The police have registered a case under IPC Section 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance) in connection with the incident however, they are clueless on who may have set the car on fire.
Furthermore, the police have booked M George, who teaches at St Ephrem’s Theological College, and five unknown persons under the Freedom of Religion Act and Sections 153-B and 295-A of the IPC after one Dharmendra Dohar complaint that he had been offered money to convert to Christianity. Later, George was released on bail.
The 21-year-old resident of Bhumkahar village alleged the missionaries of giving him ‘Rs 5,000, a cross and a Bible’ to change his faith.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) has denied the allegations of forced conversion and said that the priests from the Theological College were only conducting a carol singing programme.
Speaking to The Indian Express, the Secretary General of the CBCI, Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, has accused the police of inaction even when the priests were assaulted by the right-wing activists in front of them.
In a statement, published in The Indian Express, the CBCI has said,”The charge of conversion for which the priests and seminarians were detained is frivolous. The situation outside the police station was allowed to be so hostile that even those who wanted to approach the detained persons could not get access to them. The violence perpetrated by groups, who claim to be nationalists and have taken upon themselves the mantle of protecting nationalism and religion, is disgraceful.”