India: Catholic Church vandalized in Chhattisgarh over 'religious conversion', cop hurt
The Catholic Church in Chhattisgarh’s Narayanpur district was vandalized by locals who suspected religious conversions were taking place, and a police officer who was there to control the mob was injured as well.
During protest rallies on December 31, 2022, tribal groups and Christian tribes clashed over alleged religious conversions.
Members of the Sarva Adivasi Samaj called protests against the clashes on January 2, 2023.
There were hundreds of them with wooden sticks and iron rods marching into the Sacred Heart Church in Edka village, a forested, mineral-rich area in the southern part of the state.
Besides smashing the windows, the attackers destroyed the church's altar, crucifix, and statues, strewn around consecrated hosts, and destroyed furniture.
In order to keep the situation from getting out of hand, police were deployed in the area.
The protest, however, escalated into vandalism of a church, which injured Narayanpur Superintendent of Police Sadanand Kumar, who tried to calm the mob. He was taken to the hospital for treatment.
Sadanand Kumar, Superintendent of Police, said, "We met with tribal community leaders today at the collector's office and asked them to keep their protests peaceful. But some people attacked the church, and the police arrived and tried to convince them to keep calm. Suddenly, I was attacked from behind and injured. Further probes will be made soon."
Archbishop Victor Henry Thakur of Raipur said the attack was not motivated by Hindu opposition to religious conversion.
“There is no link between these attacks and religious conversions, as has been suggested, and they are a clear case of law-and-order issues,” the archbishop commented.
Archbishop Thakur told UCA News that the state police did not initiate action against violent groups that attacked Christians earlier, and now, they were fearlessly attacking the Christians. - By Anbu Selvam
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