National

12 Christians injured in Bastar assault

The Chhattisgarh Christian Forum (CCF) has alleged that 12 persons belonging to the community were seriously wounded in an assault by members of the Bajrang Dal in Bastar district’s Madota village on Saturday. District officials have registered an FIR.

“Christians had gathered in Madota village under Bhanpuri block of Bastar district on Saturday morning. The purpose was to discuss the district administration’s response to the petition filed by Christian bodies in the Bilaspur High Court over the ban on Christian missionaries in Bastar villages. The Sub-Divisional Magistrate and Deputy Superintendent of Police were also expected to be present. But no official turned up. Instead, around 30 to 40 Bajrang Dal members wearing saffron bands came armed with sticks and swords and attacked the Christians,” charged Arun Pannalal, president of the CCF.

Mr. Pannalal said those injured in the attack were admitted to a hospital in Jagdalpur.

However, the Bajrang Dal has denied it was involved in the attack.

“The allegations levelled against the Bajrang Dal are absolutely baseless. Some Hindus were invited by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate for a meeting in the village. Some pastors were also present without any invitation. The Hindus protested their presence which led to a scuffle,” Bastar region in-charge of Bajrang Dal, Mahesh Kashyap, told The Hindu.

The CCF has accused the district authorities of being “hand in glove” with the “right-wing elements.”

“No FIR has been registered in the case and our people have been forced to go into hiding due to the threat of the Bajrang Dal. The district authorities along with some right-wing elements are also pressuring us to withdraw the petition filed in the High Court against the ban on the entry of non-Hindu missionaries in Bastar,” claimed the CCF president.

Collector refutes charges

However, Bastar district collector Ankit Anand refuted the CCF’s allegations. “There was a clash between two groups in the village on Saturday and we have registered an FIR against the accused persons. The situation is under control. Medical assistance was provided to the injured people,” Mr. Anand said.

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2020 12:26:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/12-christians-injured-in-bastar-assault/article6535614.ece

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