Hindu activists beat up pastors in Kolhapur
Hindu activists and members of the Shiv Sena beat up two pastors they believed were attempting to convert eight members of a family into Christianity, reports Prabhakar Kulkarni.Updated: May 08, 2007 23:46 IST
Hindu activists and members of the Shiv Sena beat up two pastors they believed were attempting to convert eight members of a family at Ichalkaranji in Kolhapur on Monday evening. The duo — Ramesh Kopargol (34) and Ajit Belavi (35) — was then “handed over” to the police.
Their alleged crime: trying to convert members of 38-year old Chandrakant Salunkhe’s family into Christianity.
The family lodged a complaint with the police that the duo tried to convert them through deception.
According to police sources, Kopargol and Belavi are from Karnataka and had converted some families into Christianity earlier.
Hindu activists have declared that those who were converted through “deception” will be reconverted into Hinduism soon by specific rituals.
Meanwhile, in a statement, Dr Abraham Mathai, vice- chairperson of the State Minorities Commission and President of the Indian Christian Voice, said the “premeditated and brutal attack” on the pastors “deserves to be condemned in no uncertain terms”.
“That this was orchestrated in the presence of the electronic media reeks of a sinister intent and appears to be a pattern of the kind enacted in Jaipur only last week.
This seems to be a brand new strategy on the part of the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad to terrorise vulnerable local Christian communities and create a national fear psychosis by beaming the atrocity live on national television. It’s reality TV with a scary difference.’’
Mathai charged the police with “failing miserably” in arresting the culprits even after almost 24 hours of the incident. “While the culprits are freely offering TV interviews, the victims have been booked by false charges made by the attackers.”
Meanwhile Deputy Chief Minister RR Patil said a high-level probe would be conducted into the incident as well as allegations of forceful conversion.