The attackers, about 20, fled at arrival of police on motorcycles. According to witnesses, they were wearing the Hindu saffron headgear and devastated everything in their path. 65 worshipers beaten, including women. A child was thrown to the ground, women's clothes ripped. Christian leaders: "The anti-conversion law denies constitutional freedoms".
Raipur (AsiaNews) - In the early hours of this morning, the police in Raipur, Chhattisgarh State, arrested seven people involved in the assault on the Pentecostal church of the village of Kachna, yesterday during the Sunday prayer.
About 20 Hindu radicals wearing saffron head gear broke into the church shouting "Jai Shri Ram" [ "Victory to the god Ram", ed], disrupting the function, beating the 65 worshipers, including women, and destroying everything in their path.
Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), told AsiaNews: "The GCIC condemns the attack by right-wing fascist elements in the state ruled by the BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party, the Hindu] nationalists. The repeated attacks against the Christian minority are a blatant violation of constitutional guarantees, human rights and the rights of women. "
After the attack a massive manhunt took place to identify the culprits, who have disappeared on the arrival of the police motorcycles. Neeraj Chandrakar, the local superintendent, said: "The extremists have damaged chairs, fans and other items on the premises. They then beat the faithful gathered for prayer. "
One of them, Ms. Sahu said assailants "also used violence against women." Witnesses reported that the radicals entered the church at around 12, chanting slogans worshipping Hindu gods.
The superintendent adds: "The attackers snatched the women's garments. They even threw a child to the ground". The victims have filed a complaint and the police have registered the case for breach of Articles 452 (intentional trespassing to do harm), 295 (damage or contamination of a place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) and 147 (uprising) of the Indian penal Code.
The GCIC president said: "The attackers accused those present of being converted to Christianity. During the religious ceremony they made allegations of conversion [forced]. The known anti-conversion law, which ironically has been called the Chhattisgarh Religion Freedom Act, denies the secular values of the Constitution".