Row over church in Mansa takes a political turn, BJP backs protesters

Updated on Mar 20, 2015 09:57 PM IST

Two days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Punjab, the atmosphere in one of the districts of the state has got vitiated due to a controversy over the construction of a church here.

Hindustan Times | By, Mansa

Two days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Punjab, the atmosphere in one of the districts of the state has got vitiated due to a controversy over the construction of a church here.

The controversy took a political turn on Friday as president of the district unit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Satish Goyal, accompanied members of right wing outfits, and threatened the administration of dire consequences if the construction of the church with 'illegal funds' is not stopped.

POLICE DEPLOYED

Keeping in view the situation, police force was deployed near the church to avoid any untoward incident.

About six activists of right wing groups, led by Satish Goyal, met additional deputy commissioner (ADC) Isha Kalia and deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Rupinder Bhardwaj and asked them to stop the construction of the church failing which the activists would be forced to take law in their own hands.

"We want you to stop the construction of the church till the probe is on, otherwise, we will deal with it in our own way," threatened a right wing activist before the DSP. The group further threatened that they would bring down all the churches in the state as they posed a threat to their religion.

ADMINISTRATION'S CLAIM

The administration, however, claimed that the group, led by BJP chief, is trying to vitiate the atmosphere for no reason. "I conducted an independent probe and found nothing illegal as claimed by these people. Moreover, the BJP chief is roaming around with right wing activists who have come from Patiala and other districts," said Bhardwaj.

PRESSURE ALLEGED

The ADC said that the group tried to pressurise them to lodge an FIR against certain Charistians for practicing black magic. "They claim that they have a video where these pastors are propagating black magic. Till we receive a proper report from our police, we are not going to bow to the pressure by these groups."

Isha Kalia also siad that the group tried to dictate terms during the meeting. "They tried to dictate their terms asking me to act under the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954." Later, in the evening, a police team of the Kotdharmu police station was deployed near the church to maintain law and order.

VILLAGERS' VIEW

The villagers claimed that the reason behind this opposition is that the land has been bought by a Keralite. "The fact that someone, who doesn't belong to this area, has bought the land and it has irked these RSS affiliates. They are trying to gather and influence local Sikh po;ulation to join their cause to oppose the construction of the church," claimed a villager.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Mohammad Ghazali is a multimedia correspondent with Hindustan Times based in Punjab. He was earlier associated with Media Network of India as a research associate with Paranjoy Guha Thakurta in New Delhi. Having a post graduate degree from Asian College of Journalism, his area of interest includes Indian politics and economy.

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