Haryana police books 14 for vandalising under-construction church

Chandigarh(PTI): Haryana police has booked 14 people on charges of vandalising an under-construction church in Kaimri village of Hisar district.

The case was registered on a complaint lodged by Father Subash Chand of Williwarsh Church in the village, following which a case was registered by police under sections 147 (Punishment for rioting), 153A (promoting enmity between groups), 295 (destroying, damaging a place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class of persons), 380 (theft in a building), 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC.

The complainant stated that the accused fragmented the cross and installed the statue of Hanuman and a flag depicting Lord Ram and threatened to kill him. He alleged that they stole a cooler and some items from the worship place that was under construction. Hisar range Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Saurabh Singh said that the situation was under control. Meanwhile, Christian Front Haryana has condemned the incident and has demanded immediate arrest of the accused, all residents of Kaimri.

Reports said villagers were angry over alleged efforts by a priest to convert some locals to Christianity. A panchayat has been held in the village and it has been decided to take the issue to Hisar’s deputy commissioner.

Villagers claimed that the priest, Subhash, had bought the piece of land to build a house, but started constructing a “Believers Church” instead.

“Believers Church” is a Christian denomination with congregations and parishes across the world.

The president of All India United Christian Front, Sukhdev, was quoted, as saying, “This is a matter of shame that the villagers demolished a church. We will hold a press conference in Hisar soon and request the Superintendent of Police to take action against the culprits.”

However, the head of the village, Dalbir Singh, maintained that there were no Christians in Kaimri village and that priest Subhash was trying to convert some of them with money, food and other facilities.

The villagers have also refused to accept that any one of them had placed the “Shri Ram” flag on the church wall.

The village is said to be a stronghold of the Om Prakash Chautala-led INLD.