Matiala church body refutes charges of forced conversion

Police presence beefed up in area following Sunday’s attack

Published - November 30, 2021 01:49 am IST - New Delhi

Policemen deployed outside the Matiala church on Monday, a day after it was vandalised by miscreants.

Policemen deployed outside the Matiala church on Monday, a day after it was vandalised by miscreants.

A day after a church in west Delhi’s Matiala was vandalised and the Sunday mass disrupted by “local miscreants”, some followers went back to Punjab where the Christian body operating the church has its headquarters, while a few others stayed inside their homes, refusing to speak about the incident.

The main gate of the church remained locked, its signboard vandalised, on Monday. Police presence was beefed up in the area with one officer from the Bindapur police station deployed there for round-the-clock surveillance.

FIRs against both parties

DCP (Dwarka) Shankar Choudhary visited the spot on Monday. He said FIRs have been lodged against both the parties, the miscreants and those holding the prayers, while one of the locals has been arrested.

Vivaan George, part of the Christian body, said all the allegations against the worshippers of being involved in forced conversion of locals were baseless. He said they were peacefully holding the Sunday mass when Bajrang Dal members barged in and vandalised the premises. “Our head pastor will arrive on Friday and we will hold a discussion with the local administration and the police on how to go forward with the prayers,” he said. The church was inaugurated last week and the first Sunday mass was being held when the incident happened.

Sanjay George, also part of the same organisation, said the Bajrang Dal members instigated the local population to object to the prayers. “I was not part of the prayers on the intervening night but when the news broke, I came here and found the church vandalised... They were peacefully carrying out the prayers and bothering no one,” he said.

A local who stays opposite the church, requesting anonymity, said they were not in favour of the church being constructed and the worshippers “created ruckus in the neighbourhood”.

The police had earlier said that the premises, which was a godown, was turned into a church overnight.

Bajrang Dal spokesperson Vinod Bansal said they had sent a team to the church after they received information about some boys “being forced to convert”. “Our team protested and raised slogans as it was a fake church which was forcing locals to join them... The allegations of people being beaten up are not true,” he said.

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