Jabalpur church attack: Six arrested and then released on bail

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Jabalpur
  • Updated: Mar 23, 2015 23:14 IST

Six people of Dharma Sena were released on bail on Monday soon after their arrest in connection with the attack on Parish House of St Peter and Paul Church in Jabalpur.

Yogesh Agrawal, Nitin Rajak, Pradeep Pyasi, Anurag Chouksey, Abhishek Chouksey and Sharad Rao were arrested by the police in connection with the incident.

They were arrested under sections 147, 148, 149, 294, 323, 427, 447 and 506 of Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Additional superintendent of police (west) Isha Pant said as they had been booked under sections applicable in bailable offences, they were released immediately after arrest.

The incident took place in the wee hours of March 21 when some members of the Christian community were allegedly assaulted and threatened by activists of Bajrang Dal and Dharam Sena who attacked the school and a parsonage, alleging that religious conversion had been taking place there.

The church authorities had alleged that the accused stormed into the Church premises and a school housing a grotto with St Mary's idol. They broke earthen pots and shattered glass panes of windows of the parsonage, charging Father Thankachan Jose with converting Hindus to Christianity.

Read: Congress delegation meets DGP, asks for tough action against Dharma Sena

Ravi Francis, claiming to be a witness, had earlier said that he was roughed up by Dharam Sena and Bajrang Dal activists who stormed into Saint Thomas School campus, where some people who came for a convention, were staying.

Though Fr Thankachan and police officials held talks with leaders of the Hindu outfits to ease the situation, some of them stormed into the premises and started abusing them, he alleged.

Police sought to chase them from the campus, but they refused to give in and marched to the nearby Saint Peter and Paul Church where the first day of the convention was held.

They then barged into the Church premises shouting 'Jai Shree Ram' and demanded that Fr Thankachan be handed over to them. As they could not find him there, they vandalised the parsonage, close to the Church, Francis said.

"Though our Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, it is being violated openly," Fr Thankachan said.

The church had given the CCTV footage of the incident to the police.

(With PTI inputs)

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