Chhattisgarh: Five, Including BJP Leader, Arrested After Church Vandalised in Narayanpur

A group held a discussion over alleged religious conversions in Narayanpur on January 2, after which they allegedly barged into Vishwa Dipti school premises and vandalised a church.

New Delhi: The police arrested five people, including a local Bharatiya Janata Party leader, on Tuesday, January 3, a day after a church was vandalised inside a school premises, on January 2, in Chhattisgarh’s Narayanpur city.

According to the Indian Express, a group of tribals held a discussion over alleged religious conversions in Narayanpur on January 2, following which they allegedly barged into Vishwa Dipti Christian School premises and vandalised a church.

During the attack, a senior policeman was attacked and injured. This happened when six to seven police personnel – who also suffered minor injuries – tried to stop the protesters.

Narayanpur is around 242 kilometres away from Raipur.

The police have registered three first information reports against unidentified persons for rioting, assaulting police personnel, and vandalising the church, reported.

Those arrested have been identified as BJP leader Rupsai Salam, 55; Pawankumar Nag, 24; Atul Netam, 24; Ankit Nandi, 31; and Domendra Yadav, 21. Except for Salam, who is from Remawand in Narayanpur, the rest are residents of Bakhrupara, the newspaper reported.

A large number of police personnel have been deployed in the city after the protest turned violent, news agency PTI reported.

The police on Tuesday also stopped two BJP MPs and an MLA from entering Narayanpur, the daily said.

The FIRs have been registered under different sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for criminal conspiracy, attempt to murder on a government servant, assault on government servants, rioting, unlawful assembly, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, criminal intimidation, deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class.

Also read: ‘Over 300 Attacks Against Christians Till July 2022’: NGO Data Based on Distress Calls

Meanwhile, the BJP claimed in the Chhattisgarh assembly on Tuesday that incidents of religious conversion in tribal-dominated areas have increased under the Congress government’s watch.

The Opposition party said that the violent incident in Narayanpur city could have been averted had the police acted in time against complaints pertaining to alleged religious conversions.

The Opposition legislators trooped into the Well of the House raising slogans like “stop converting tribals”. Senior Congress MLA Dhanendra Sahu, who was in the Chair, announced the suspension of 12 BJP members and adjourned the House for five minutes.

Senior BJP MLA and former chief minister Raman Singh told PTI, “The incident could have been averted had the police and administration acted in time over complaints of alleged atrocities by Christian missionaries on local tribal people who don’t want to get converted.”

He alleged, “The Monday’s reaction was in response to attacks on local tribals by missionary goons from outside the state.”