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UP pastor assaulted by Bajrang Dal men, held on conversion charges

Police said Deependra Prakash, who was affiliated to a religious group in Mulhera village, has been charged with trying to convert 16 people to Christianity.

lucknow Updated: Jun 19, 2018 17:20 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Meerut
Bajrang Dal,Pastor,Methodist church
Bajrang Dal activists shout slogans during a recent protest in New Delhi on Wednesday. About four days ago, the Central Intelligence Agency had named the Bajrang Dal as a ‘religious militant organisation’ in its World Factbook.(Ravi Choudhary/HT PHOTO)

A pastor was allegedly assaulted and handed over to the police by Bajrang Dal activists in Meerut on Monday.

Police said Deependra Prakash, who is affiliated to a Methodist church in Mulhera village, has been charged with trying to convert 16 people to Christianity. “At least 16 affidavits of people willing to convert were recovered from Prakash’s possession. He has been sent to jail,” confirmed Meerut superintendent of police (rural) Rajesh Kumar.

Police said Prakash had approached Sanjeev Panwar, former general secretary of the Sardhana Bar Association, and presented 16 affidavits for notarisation on Monday. However, local Bajrang Dal leaders caught wind of the matter, and soon, a group of right-wing activist led by office-bearer Milan Son reached the lawyer’s chamber. It was when they found that the affidavits concerned religious conversions that the pastor was assaulted and handed over to the police.

“We have instructed our activists to form teams and keep a sharp lookout for missionaries operating in the village. We will not take such activities lying down. Anybody trying to convert people by force should be ready to face the consequences,” said Bajrang Dal state convenor Balraj Singh.

Sources said that although Panwar was initially detained too, he was let off with a warning after lawyers staged a protest in front of the police station.

A case has been registered against Prakash under relevant sections of the law.

First Published: Jun 19, 2018 17:20 IST