A church was set on fire by unidentified people in Mandla district, 466km east from Bhopal on Saturday. The incident occurred at Ghutas in the rural part of the district.
Local residents said that Billiards Church, which is situated amidst a field in a rural area, was burnt. The church was badly damaged in the incident. By the time local residents could reach the spot, furniture and goods were charred.
The walls had blackened. Sources said that unidentified people had barged inside after breaking the lock and then set fire to the building. The church is located at a secluded spot. As soon as the incident was reported, senior officials rushed from Mandla district headquarters to the spot. The priest lodged a complaint with the police.
Superintendent of police (SP) Gaurav Rajput, who had reached Ghutas, said efforts were on to ascertain the identity of the people responsible for the act. "We have registered a case of arson and hurting religious sentiments," Rajput further said.