The controversy over the Christian congregation was resolved late Tuesday with the intervention of the district administration.
The Christian community will now hold the function on Wednesday at Roshan Ground as per schedule but there would be no conversion. The Hindu outfits, which had planned a protest outside the venue and even given a call for a city bandh, relented and revoked the call.
Despite opposition from Hindu outfits, the Christian community had decided to hold their religious function. The leaders of Vishav Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal, on the other hand, had threatened to stage a protest. To avert a clash, the district magistrate had imposed Section 144 of CrPC in the city, prohibiting assembly of five or more persons, sloganeering and carrying of arms without prior permission.
The administration made several attempts to resolve the issue in the last few days but the warring factions stuck to their respective stands. The Hindu leadership, which first cited forced conversion as the reason for their demand to put a ban on the Christian function, later called for a shift in the venue but the Christian leaders said they had already sought permission from the municipal corporation to use the Roshan Ground.
"How will a change in the venue affect any one," questioned Christian Front state president Lawrence Chaudhary. "A few days ago, another religious group held a massive kirtan darbar at the same place. Hindu organisations also use this venue for their gatherings but only the Christian minority is being targeted," he rued. "Like all other communities, it is our constitutional right to organise our religious functions," he added. He said the organisers had sought adequate security from the administration and it was for the latter to ensure that no untoward incident happened.
VHP and Bajrang Dal leaders, however, issued a press statement in the evening to inform that a march would be held towards Roshan Ground tomorrow. "If something unpleasant happens, the district administration should be held responsible, as it failed to get the proposed programme cancelled," it read. "The loudspeakers at the venue will disturb the deities at nearby temples," they reasoned.
Late in the evening, deputy commissioner Amit Dhaka and senior superintendent of police (SSP) Raj Jit Singh again called representatives of both the groups. In the meeting, the Christians gave an undertaking that there would not be any conversion at which the Hindu leaders withdrew their decision to obstruct the proceedings.