A group of 30 men who attacked a Christmas party is said to be a part of a Hindu Groupon Friday, December 23, a group of at least 30 young men attacked a Christmas party in Purola village in Uttarakhand‘s district, claiming that forced conversions were taking place there.
According, to the reports the incident at the Hope and Life center happened around noon. About 150 kilometers from Dehradun. The individuals who attacked Pastor Lazarus Cornelius and his wife Sushma Cornelius are claimed to be members of a Hindu group.
According to the police, a group of more than 30 individuals showed up at Chibala village under Purola block on Friday morning while Pastor Lazarus Cornelius and his wife Sushma Cornelius were leading the Christmas prayers, claiming that there were forced conversions taking place.
“The Christmas ceremony
“The Christmas ceremony was underway in the afternoon when a group of 35 to 40 people arrived and stopped them. The organizers had invited other villages and local Christians of Nepali ancestry. The two parties got into a fight before attacking one another, inflicting injuries on both sides, according to Purola police station in-charge KS Rawat.
The police official claimed, that we arrived there and dissuaded the two groups from fighting after getting information. We have filed FIRs in response to the complaints of both parties, and an investigation is now ongoing, he added.
On the complaint of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), the police filed an FIR against one Jagdish (in whose house the Christian event was taking place) under Section 3 of the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018, Sections 153-A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, domicile), Section 323 (voluntarily inflicting harm), and Section 504 (Insult designed to incite a breach of the peace) of the Indian Penal Code.
According to the complaint, “Some members of the Christian community were engaged in conversions by bringing individuals to Jagdish’s residence. Locals and Hindu organizations arrived there to try to stop them and get information, but they began cursing at us. They then attacked us with sticks, causing injuries to two of us from our sides.
The police also stated, that they also filed a complaint against those five-six identified and other unidentified people on the complaint of Pastor Lazarus Cornelius of Union Church for hurting at least five people.
We have charged them with violating Sections 153-A (Promoting enmity between different groups on the basis of religion, race, place of birth, or residence), 323 (Voluntarily Causing Hurt), 504 (Insult Intended to Provoke Breach of the Peace), 427 (Mischief and Thereby Causing Loss or Damage to the Amount of Fifty Rupees or More), and 506 (Criminal Intimidation), the official said.
He said that while we were requested to conduct a medical assessment on behalf of the wounded members of the Christian community, no such request was made by the opposing party. He further, added that the allegations of any party carrying sticks are false as nothing like that came to our knowledge during the inquiry.
A measure opposing conversion was recently brought to the legislature by the state’s BJP government; it was approved and received the governor’s consent on December 24. However, residents claim that attacks against Christians and Muslims, as well as other religious minorities, have occurred in the past.