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Monday, September 20, 2021

Chhattisgarh pastor, 2 others assaulted inside police station; SHO shifted

According to police, pastor Harish Sahu was called to the Purani Basti police station over complaints of forced religious conversions being carried out in the Bhatagaon area.

By: Express News Service | Raipur |
Updated: September 6, 2021 4:38:31 am
A video of the incident went viral on social media.

A pastor and two others were allegedly abused and assaulted by a mob inside a police station in Chhattisgarh’s Raipur on Sunday, police said, adding that following the altercation, an FIR was filed against several persons and the in-charge of the Purani Basti police station was attached to the police lines.

According to police, pastor Harish Sahu was called to the Purani Basti police station over complaints of forced religious conversions being carried out in the Bhatagaon area.

Several local right-wing activists also reached the police station after Sahu, who was accompanied by Chhattisgarh Christian Forum general secretary, Ankush Bariyekar. According to police sources, the mob accused Sahu of indulging in religious conversion and manhandled him as well as Bariyekar and one Prakash Masih, inside the police station. A video of the incident, in which the mob is being pushed outside the police station surfaced on social media.

Also, Purani Basti SHO Yadumani Sidar was attached to the police lines, the official added.

“Sahu had been called to the police station after a right-wing organisation submitted a complaint against him that he is indulging in religious conversions. Accordingly, he came to the police station today (on Sunday) along with Bariyekar and Masih. But a group of right-wing leaders present there manhandled and abused the trio inside the chamber of the station house officer (SHO),” a senior officer privy to the case said.

Bariyekar lodged a complaint in this regard, after which several people were booked under IPC sections 147 (rioting), 294 (obscene acts and songs), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 506 (criminal intimidation). Later, sections 86 (offense under intoxication) 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 452 (house trespass) were added, Raipur police said.

The incident occurred a week after 25-year-old pastor Kawalsingh Paraste was allegedly beaten up in his house in Polmi village in Kabirdham district by a mob of over 100 people, accusing him of indulging in religious conversions.

BJP has raised issues of forced religious conversions in the Congress-ruled state time and again. However, Congress leaders have maintained that the opposition is trying to fuel a non-existent fire.

On Monday, a rally has been organised by the BJP’s youth wing to protest against religious conversions and ‘love jihad’ in Bilaspur.

Late on Sunday night, Raipur Superintendent of Police Ajay Yadav was named DIG and IPS officer Prashant Agarwal was named as the Raipur SP.

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