Church Vandalised, Cop Injured As Protest Against Conversion Turns Violent

A church in Chhattisgarh’s Narayanpur was vandalised and a senior police officer was injured when a protest by members of the tribal community from the region went out of control on Monday.

The protest was sparked by a clash between two communities over alleged religious conversion that occurred in Edka village on Sunday. The district Superintendent of Police, Sadanand Kumar, was attacked during the protest and is currently receiving treatment at a hospital.

In response to the violence, a large number of police personnel have been deployed in Narayanpur, located approximately 300 kilometres from the capital city of Raipur. While attempts were made to calm the protestors, the situation escalated and the church was vandalised. The injured police officer was given first aid at a local hospital.

Earlier, the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism in partnership with All India People’s Forum, All India Lawyers’ Association for Justice, and United Christian Forum constituted a fact-finding committee that claimed that about 1,000 Christian tribals in Chhattisgarh were subjected to violence over their religion and some of them were forcibly converted to Hinduism.

Quoting director of the Centre for Study of Society and Secularism Irfan Engineer, news agency PTI had reported that between December 9 and 18 last year, there were a series of attacks in 18 villages in Narayanpur and 15 villages in Kondagaon. The attacks allegedly displaced about 1,000 Christian Adivasis from their villages.

John Dayal, human rights activist, said the government has “weaponised laws” to target Adivasis and called it a “very dangerous precedent”. “The state sponsors such violence, political parties sponsor such violence. This happening so close to Christmas is no coincidence,” he said. 

(With inputs from PTI.)

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