A pastor who was allegedly attacked by a group of people in Ghaziabad on March 24 has questioned the motive behind the incident even as the police said the assault was not communal in nature.
Pastor Gladwin Masih (40) from Pentacostal Church in Delhi and his followers were assaulted by 15-20 people at an isolated spot near Bhopra area.
They were returning from a prayer meeting held at the residence of Rama Nand — a 25-year-old man who converted to Christianity — in Krishna Vihar area of Ghaziabad.
The victims have also questioned Sahibabad police's alleged inaction as no one has been arrested yet.
Rama Nand and his five-month pregnant wife have deserted their house ever since the assault in which Pritam —one of the Pastor’s members — was injured.
Masih lodged an FIR at the Sahibabad police station and named three locals—Arun Kumar, Mr. Sharma and Vicky —as suspects.
"Three men came to attend a prayer at our house and Vicky, a neighbour, was found communicating with some other people just before the assault," Rama Nand told HT.
Masih told HT at his house in Delhi's New Seemapuri: "The three people regularly attended a 'shakha' near Kuti and were opposed to locals who converted to other religions. They opposed our visits and threatened us to stop our prayer meetings."
On March 26, two days after the alleged assault, several religious outfits held protests in front of the Sahibabad Police station, demanding withdrawal of the names of the accused from the FIR and immediate stop on religious conversions.
On March 27, Vicky — a Delhi University student — lodged a counter FIR against the victims of the attack.
"They are constantly pressuring locals to join their religion," he alleged.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Raghubir Lal denied the assault was communal in nature.
“It was a scuffle between two groups. The locals objected to the prayers as they felt it caused disturbance at night. There is also a possibility that some anti-social elements could have staged the attack to disturb harmony in the area,” SSP said.
“We are investigating the case and trying to ascertain the injuries inflicted on victims as they proceeded for medical examination on their own to GTB hospital in Delhi,” SSP said.