Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor: Mohd Irshad Alam
A First Information Report (FIR) was registered on Sunday, 5 September, against seven known accused and other unidentified persons in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, after a pastor and two others were allegedly abused and assaulted by a mob inside a police station.
The in-charge of Raipur's Purani Basti police station was apprised of the incident and has been removed from the post, news agency ANI reported.
The pastor had been called to Purani Basti police station in connection with the complaints of forced religious conversions, when the incident took place.
Pastor Harish Sahu, who has been accused of carrying out forced religious conversions in the Bhatagaon area, arrived at the police station accompanied by Chhattisgarh Christian Forum general secretary, Ankush Bariyekar.
Soon after, as per media reports, several right-wing activists also gathered at the police station. Citing police sources, The Indian Express reported that Sahu was accused of indulging in religious conversion by the mob, and manhandled by the mob. Bariyekar, as well as one Prakash Masih, were also manhandled.
A video of the mob being subsequently pushed out of the police station is doing the rounds on social media.
What Are the Cops Saying?
The Indian Express quoted a senior police officer as saying that Sahu had been called to the police station after a right-wing organisation submitted a complaint of indulging in purported religious conversions against him. Thereby, he arrived at the police station, confirmed the cop.
“But a group of right-wing leaders present there manhandled and abused the trio (Sahu, Bariyekar and Masih) inside the chamber of the station house officer (SHO),” the senior officer further added.
Purani Basti SHO Yadumani Sidar was also reportedly attached to the police lines.
Several people have now been booked under sections 147 (rioting), 294 (obscene acts and songs), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Sections 86 (offence under intoxication), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), and 452 (house trespass) were also reportedly added later.
Previously, pastor Kawalsingh Paraste was allegedly beaten up in his house in Polmi village in Kabirdham district by a mob of over 100 people, following accusations of him indulging in religious conversions, according to The Indian Express.
On Monday, BJP’s youth wing has also organised a rally to protest religious conversions and ‘love jihad’ in Bilaspur.
(With inputs from The Indian Express.)