Three Christians, including a priest, were attacked on Monday by members of the VHP and Veer Sarvarkar Yuva Morcha at Choela Buttuwala village nearby on charges of allegedly trying to convert local residents.
Witnesses said nearly 50 members of both outfits reached the village around 9 am and started gathering the literature kept at a makeshift church.
“The VHP and Morcha workers then had a quarrel with priest Hemant Guru and his two associates, Suraj Kumar and Suresh Kumar. They beat up all three,” said Neeraj Thapa, a local resident.
The scared trio somehow managed to escape. The angry mob then collected the pamphlets and literature from the church and reached Patel Nagar police station to lodge a complaint. When the police refused, the mob went to the Clock Tower area and burnt the pamphlets.
Three persons — Kuldeep Swedia, convenor of the Morcha, Manohar Sharma, the ward councilor of Gandhi Gram and Madan Gopal, the VHP’s district media in-charge — were arrested by the Kotwali police for disturbing peace.
“The Christians had set up a temporary church in the village and were trying to induce villagers to convert. We had told this to the local intelligence unit, but since they didn’t initiate any action we decide to act on our own,” said Rohit Maurya, a Morcha office bearer.
Mayor Vinod Chamoli, also a senior BJP leader, accompanied by other party members secured their release.
Villagers said the church was constructed a year back where regular discourses and prayer meetings were conducted. The priest would allegedly induce villagers with monetary and medical incentives.