Chhattisgarh: BJP leader arrested after another church vandalization.
On January 2, a group of tribals in the Narayanpur district staged a protest against what they claimed was the “forced conversion” of members of the tribal community to Christianity. The protest descended into violence, and a church was vandalized.
Broken chairs and papers were seen scattered about in a video of the church, which was erected on the grounds of Vishwa Dipti High School in Narayanpur, just one kilometer from the district administrative center.
A man was seen on another video damaging a statue of the Virgin Mary that had been placed on the church’s property. The incident also resulted in damage to another statue of Jesus Christ.
In connection with the attack on a church inside a school and an assault on police officers on Monday, Narayanpur police detained five people on Tuesday, including a local BJP leader.
Three separate FIRs have been filed by the police against unidentified individuals for rioting, assaulting police officers, and vandalizing a church. Narayanpur SP Sadanand Kumar sustained a head injury during the attack on the church on Monday.
BJP leader Rupsai Salam, 55, Pawankumar Nag, 24, Atul Netam, 24, Ankit Nandi, 31, and Domendra Yadav, 21, are among those detained. The rest of them live in Bakhrupara, with the exception of Salam, who is from Remawand in Narayanpur.
The police on Tuesday also prevented two BJP MPs and an MLA from entering Narayanpur, citing security concerns.
After attending a meeting in Narayanpur, about 242 kilometers from Raipur, to discuss religious conversions, a mob of tribal people broke into Viswadeepti School’s grounds and vandalized a church on Monday afternoon. While attempting to stop them, a police team of 6-7 officers, including the SP, sustained minor injuries.
Later, speaking to the media, SP Kumar said that he and district collector Ajeet Vasant had met with the protesters and urged them to maintain the peaceful nature of the demonstration.
“Following the meeting, the crowd split up into various groups, each armed with sticks and bamboo, and they began marching toward the city with the intention of destroying the place of worship (which is housed within the grounds of a particular school) of a particular community,” he said.
In a separate incident on January 1st, a fight broke out in Gorra village between tribals who converted to Christianity and non-Christian tribes. Several people were hurt, including a police officer.
Arun Pannalal, president of the Christian Community Forum of Chhattisgarh, condemned the violence and blamed the administration for failing to prevent such incidents.
“The administration should have taken more proactive measures to prevent such attacks. The administration failed because they did not take the necessary steps at the appropriate time. Such incidents have been occurring in the Christian community for the past year,” said Pannalal.
These two incidents occurred just two weeks after 14 families in the village of Borawand were allegedly forced from their homes on Sunday, December 18, 2022, and told: “never to return.”
Tensions between villagers and tribe members who are allegedly Christian have been brewing for months in Narayanpur, which has a significant Maoist presence. Following their eviction from the village a month ago, the tribal families traveled to Narayanpur’s district office to meet the district collector on Monday, December 19, 2022. The administration subsequently made plans for the families to stay in a Narayanpur indoor stadium.
On Thursday, December 29, 2022, some people returned to their villages after ten days amid opposition. However, about 80 people continue to live in exile and are homeless.
Via: Muslim Mirror