MP: Catholic priests allegedly beaten up outside police

Cheryl Sanders
December 16, 2017

Sources said the seminarians were moving around Satna town, visiting Christian institutions and singing carols.

Religious conversion is a sensitive issue in India with Hindu groups often accusing Christian missionaries of luring poor villagers - through cash and kind - to convert to their faith.

"They (members of the Catholic group) may have been manhandled outside the police station premises".

"A case has been registered against unidentified people for burning the vehicle, but denied claim about members of the Catholic community having been assaulted during the incident", said Sub-inspector Mohinee Sharma of Civil Lines police station.

The assault victims had been attempting to assist 30 seminarians and two priests arrested on December 14 for allegedly trying to convert non-Christians.

Police have detained six Christians on the charge of trying to "forcibly" convert a Hindu man at Bhoomkhar village in Satna district, shortly after suspected Bajrang Dal activists attacked a carol-singing session there on Thursday night and burnt a auto. The priests alleged that the police took them to the Civil Lines station without any reason. "If they come to us with a complaint that they were beaten up, we will surely book the accused", the police officer said.

"One of them called police and demanded action against us", Fr. Mangalappally said. "Hearing the news, four other priests rushed to the police station, but they were also thrashed and their auto was set on fire", he claimed, adding four more priests went to the police station and were assaulted too.

All 32 carollers, accompanied by two priests, were taken to the police station. He first said he had been "pressured" to convert but later alleged the Bajrang Dal had told him to make the allegation.

Shibu Thomas, founder of Persecution Relief, an ecumenical forum that records persecutions against Christians, said the latest violence constituted the 48th attack on Christian carolers in India this Christmas season.

Madhya Pradesh, a BJP-ruled state, has an estimated 2.1 lakh Christian population, as per the 2011 census.

"Nobody has been formally charged with or arrested for the alleged conversion".

Other reports by iNewsToday