A congregation attending Sunday Mass in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur district was attacked by a group of masked men armed with swords and iron rods, police said on Tuesday. Around 25 people had gathered for their weekly Sunday prayer at the residence of one Bhimsen Chavan in Kowad village, which borders Karnataka, when the incident happened.
The incident comes on the back of a debate on intolerance against minorities in the country. A group of 10 to 15 masked men armed with swords, iron rods and glass bottles reached the event venue on motorcycles around noon and tried to barge into the house, PTI quoted police as saying.
The masked men also threw stones at the congregation, injuring 12 people in the process. However, a group of women, who were part of the prayer meeting, thwarted their attempt to enter the house by throwing chilly powder. The injured have been admitted to hospital and their condition is stated to be stable.
Senior police officials said the situation was now under control but they were keeping a close watch in the area. A police official said even though they were yet to come to a conclusion on the motive behind the attack, prima facie it seemed the intention was to disturb the prayer meeting.
Police have registered a case of rioting and attempt to murder against unidentified people. Kolhapur Superintendent of Police Abhinav Deshmukh visited the spot on Tuesday and is supervising the investigation. The attackers most probably had come from Belagavi in Karnataka.
Police have already recorded the statements of people who had seen the attackers. The CCTV footage of the area was also being scanned, the official said and expressed hope that the attackers would be nabbed soon.