Over 200 men and women belonging to Hindutva groups Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal, and BJP’s youth wing Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, vandalised a church in Roorkee in Uttarakhand on Sunday, injuring several Christians who had assembled for morning prayers.
Rajat, a church volunteer, suffered serious head injuries. He has been shifted to a Dehradun government hospital where his condition is stated to be critical.
At around 10 am on Sunday, the Hindutva mob, armed with iron roads, destroyed chairs, tables, musical instruments, and photographs that were in the church, according to The Wire.
The investigation is underway based on the complaint of the church pastor’s wife Prio Sadhana Lanse.
“The frenzied mob, shouting slogans like ‘Vande mataram’ and ‘Bharat mata ki jai’, barged into the church, which is on the first floor of the building. They started beating our volunteers and the women attackers bashed up our womenfolk,” Lanse told The Wire.
Lanse also told the news portal that the women including her daughter Pearl, were inappropriately touched by the assailants.
The church has been functional for over 35 years and after the death of pastor D.R. Lanse due to coronavirus last year, his wife Sadhana Lanse organises the prayer meetings.
The Hindu mob’s attack comes after they alleged Christian missionaries and worshippers of carrying out the religious conversion of some Hindus under the garb of charity work in the area.
Hours after the attack, Madan Kaushik, BJP state president justified the anti-Christian violence and said that religious conversion would not be allowed in the state. Kaushik also questioned the prayer house being called a church by “some sections of the society”. He claimed it “is not a church but a residence where suspicious gatherings were being held.”
The Hindutva activist damaged the CCTV cameras fitted in the church premises before beginning their attack.
According to Hindustan Times, the Uttarakhand police have booked 200 people for rioting, theft, trespassing, and voluntarily causing hurt under varied sections of the Indian Penal Code. No arrests have been made and the police are trying to access the CCTV footage from nearby places to trace the culprits, according to The Wire.