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UP priests thrashed

Radical Hindu activists allegedly beat up and tore the clothes of two Christian priests in Bareilly on Saturday evening, alleging they were trying to convert Hindus.

By Piyush Srivastava in Lucknow
  • Published 10.09.18
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Lucknow: Radical Hindu activists allegedly beat up and tore the clothes of two Christian priests in Bareilly on Saturday evening, alleging they were trying to convert Hindus.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and Bharatiya Hindu Sena activists then dragged the priests, Ashok Kumar and Vijay Maisi, to Prem Nagar police station while two constables watched without intervening, video clips suggest.

Kumar and Maisi were allowed to go home only after giving it in writing to the attackers - inside the police station - that they had never organised conversions and would never do so, the priests told reporters.

Muniraj G, senior superintendent of police in Bareilly, 260km north of Lucknow, confirmed that no conversions had taken place and said the two sides had sorted the "confusion" out at the police station.

He said he didn't know anything about the priests being beaten up or having to give an undertaking.

Pawan Arora, VHP city president, had in the afternoon lodged a police complaint saying 23 Hindus from Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh were preparing to convert to Christianity under the two priests' guidance at a house in Swapnalok Colony.

"A police team went to the house but didn't find anything wrong there," an officer in Lucknow said, asking not to be identified.

"The priests were reading out from a book about the Christian religion and some people were listening. All of them told the police they were Christians already and didn't need to convert."

Not satisfied with the police inquiry, Arora and the other activists later barged into the house and allegedly attacked the priests.

"It was a prayer meeting organised by the Rashtriya Susamachar Parishad, an NGO. But some people wrongly thought that religious conversions were taking place," Muniraj G said.

"The police didn't find anything objectionable there. Both sides sat with the police and the confusion was cleared."

Some of the people from the house who had accompanied the priests to the police station later took Kumar to hospital as he was bleeding from an injury to his forehead.

"They came and started beating us, then dragged us to the police station, half a kilometre from the house," Kumar told reporters. "They wouldn't listen to us."

Arora insisted that the two priests were involved in converting poor people.

"I had sent a member of my organisation to attend the programme in the house in the guise of a poor man. He told me the priests were preparing to convert some people," he said.