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6 Hindu Dharm Sena men arrested for vandalising Jabalpur church.

Six persons allegedly involved in vandalising a cathedral premise and a Catholic school, where people had gathered for a religious convention, were arrested Madhya Pradesh's Jabalpur district in the wee hours on Monday.



"We have arrested six persons involved in attacking the Catholic school and cathedral premises," Jabalpur's Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Isha Pant told PTI. "Those arrested have been identified as Dharm Sena leader Yogesh Agrawal and his associates Nitin Rajak, Prateek Pyasi, Anurag Choukse, Abhishek Choukse and Sharad Rao," the ASP said.
"They have been booked under IPC Sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 294 (punishment for obscene acts or words in public), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 427 (mischief) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC, besides other relevant sections," she said.

What happened in the Jabalpur attack?
The incident took place in the night of March 20 and 21 when some members of the Christian community were allegedly assaulted and threatened by activists of the Bajrang Dal and the Dharm Sena who attacked the school and a parsonage alleging that religious conversion had been taking place there.

The church authorities had alleged that the accused stormed into the Cathedral premises and a school housing a grotto with St Mary's idol. They broke earthen pots and shattered glass panes of windows of the parsonage, charging Father Thankachan Jose with converting Hindus to Christianity.
Ravi Francis, claiming to be a witness, had earlier said that he was roughed up by Dharm Sena and Bajrang Dal activists who stormed into Saint Thomas School campus, where some people who came for a convention were staying. The church had given the CCTV footage of the incident to the police.
Though Father Thankachan and police officials held talks with leaders of the Hindu outfits to ease the situation, some of them stormed into the premises and started abusing them, he alleged. "As they could not find him there, they vandalised the parsonage, close to the Cathedral," Francis said.
Police sought to chase them from the campus, but they refused to give in and marched to the nearby Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral where the first day of the convention was held. They then barged into the Cathedral premises shouting Jai Shri Ram and demanded that Fatherr Thankachan be handed over to them.
"Though our Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, it is being violated openly," Fr Thankachan said.

The Jabalpur attack came a day after masked men attacked a church in Mumbai in Maharashtra, which like Madhya Pradesh is ruled by the BJP. Earlier this month, a 71-year-old nun was raped at a convent school in West Bengal, triggering protests across the country.

SOURCE: INDIA TODAY

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