A mob of 50 men allegedly beat up eight Christians, all tribals, preparing for Christmas Eve prayers in Vikramgarh in Thane district.
According to the police, the mob of as-yet-unidentified men obstructed the prayer preparations on Friday and assaulted the eight men.
Police Inspector S Sandbhor said a case of rioting has been registered the statements of the victims are being recorded. State Minorities Commission members are expected to visit them to find out the exact sequence of events.
“The fight was between locals. The Christian community was preparing for the prayer, but some locals objected and asked them to shift it elsewhere,” said Sandbhor.
Abraham Mathai, vice-chairman of the State Minorities Commission and general secretary of the All India Christian Council, said Christians in the area were now afraid of celebrating Christmas.
“It is sad that helpless tribal Christians were victimised with such impunity by communal goons. There was no help from the so-called keepers of the law,” said Mathai.
“This attack was carried out to instill fear in poor tribal Christians to deter them from conducting the Christmas prayer service on Saturday.”
On September 5, 2009, followers of the Swami Narendra Maharaj organisation stormed a Christian prayer meeting in Nallasopara.
They attacked the pastors and beat up children and women. The Nallasopara police arrested two persons — a man and his wife — for rioting.