Seven people were arrested on Monday for vandalising church and assaulting worshippers in Raipur. A group of unidentified youths on Sunday attacked a church here, vandalising the premises of the place of worship and assaulting worshippers, including women, the Raipur police said.
The “masked" assailants even pushed an infant to the ground while allegedly thrashing the worshippers. “Around 20 youths entered the church when the mass prayer was underway and attacked the worshippers. They damaged the chairs, musical instruments, fans and other articles," Raipur district additional superintendent of police (ASP) Neeraj Chandrakar told this newspaper.
“Encroachment of land to build the church seems to be motive behind the attack," he added. “We have detained three people in connection with the incident. Interrogation of the detainees was on. Besides, three motorcycles purportedly used by the assailants have been seized. Investigation is in progress," Mr Chandrakar said.
A case has been registered under Sections 452 (house trespass after preparation to hurt), 295 (attacking a place of worship and hurting religious sentiments) and 147 (rioting) of the Indian Penal Code, he added.
Chhattisgarh Christian Forum president Arun Pannalal said a group of 15-20 youths with saffron bands on their foreheads raided the church while chanting “Jai Shri Ram". “They damaged the furniture and tore women's clothes. They even did not spare an infant who was pushed to the ground by them," Mr Pannanal informed. “The attackers were heard alleging that religious conversion was taking place in the church," he said. The assailants fled when the police reached the spot.