The Christian community in the village of Rajewal, Punjab, protested an attack by a group of individuals costumed as Nihangs (literarily the immortals) on May 21.
As the assailants fled after injuring a few people, damaging vehicles, and shattering windowpanes, community members conducted a protest against the attack.
A Christian witness stated that the perpetrators targeted the church during prayer services.
According to reports, approximately 15 individuals wielding Kirpans (traditional Sikh ceremonial weapons) attacked Christians, resulting in multiple injuries and the desecration of their sacred Bible. The Nihangs accused the Christian community of engaging in forcible conversions.
They (the Christian community) demanded that the perpetrators be charged with blasphemy under sections of the law that apply to the sacrilege of the Sikh sacred book, Sri Guru Granth Sahib. They have threatened to stage dharnas (protest sit-ins) throughout the state if the police fail to apprehend the assailants.
Satinder Singh, senior superintendent of police for Amritsar (Rural), expressed profound regret over the incident, describing it as unfortunate. He stated that statements had been taken and an FIR had been lodged, adding that the mischievous individuals involved would be severely punished.
Subhash Thoba, a member of the Punjab Minority Commission, and his companions arrived in the village. He disclosed that the congregation had informed them that approximately twenty-five Nihangs had assembled outside the church on May 21, Sunday afternoon, wielding swords and accusing the community of forced conversions.
The motive for the assault and the identities of the perpetrators "remain unknown." A police source stated that the police and authorities are actively investigating the incident to bring the “perpetrators to justice and preserve communal harmony.”
"The insecurity of Christians is spreading from Manipur to Punjab and other states, which is a sad situation in this secular country," said Bipracharan Nayak, former president of the Kandhamal survivor association. - Purushottam Nayak
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