Subhas Chand, the priest at the Believer’s Church in Kaimiri in Hissar, was warned by members of the Bajrang Dal and some other villagers not to construct the church in the village. However, he refused to heed their threats. Now, that the VHP has defended the act of vandalism and Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has stated in the assembly that Chand was involved in conversion, it’s clear that the attack was communal in nature.
The villagers claim that Chand had bought the plot to build a house but he started converting it into a church which was resented by the residents in the area. ‘Believers Church’ is a Christian denomination with congregations and parishes from across the world. It holds Jesus Christ as the Head of the Church. The villagers feared that the priest was planning to convert people in the village and surrounding areas to Christianity.
After the attacks which happened on Sunday, a panchayat was called the next day. Sources say the villagers were against any arrest in the case. Interestingly, the Kaimiri village is dominated by the Hindus, mostly Jats, and there are no Christian families around. The entire area is under the influence of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), the main opposition party in Haryana.
The police are trying to ascertain whether the priest was trying to influence the locals there to convert or if the hardliners were afraid of the spread of Christianity with the church coming up in their region.
“The motive behind the attack on the church is a matter of investigation by the police. It could be due to the fear among the villagers of the spread of Christianity by the priest through the church. On the other hand, it could also be done by the Christians themselves to garner sympathy for themselves which may help them support in their mission of spreading Christianity,” said Ranbir Gangwa, INLD legislator from Nalwa speaking to Firstpost.
Gangwa also feared that since Panchayat elections were close, some people of the village might have been trying to project themselves as leaders by taking such steps. He, however, said there was a lurking fear among the people that the priest could try to lure and influence people to convert.
Condemning the attack on the church, Congress spokesman, Ran Singh Mann, said this was the ruling BJP government’s move to distract people from the main issues. The BJP government in Haryana has failed on all fronts and is running away from its duties and responsibilities. The government has failed to fulfill its promises of providing round-the-clock electricity to farmers, increasing pension to the aged people. Prices of sugar had been increased, but sugarcane prices were the same, resulting in no profit to the farmers, reeling under the power and the urea shortage. What kind of a government is this?’’ asked Ran Singh Mann.
Meanwhile Sukhdev, president of the All India United Christian Front issued a statement today on the disturbing incident, saying, “This is a matter of shame that the villagers demolished a chuch. We will request the SP to take action against the culprits’’.
District collector of Hisar, Chander Shekhar Khare said, no one had come to him with any complaint in the incident. The administration will take necessary action according to law, he assured.
INLD leader Digvijay Singh Chautala said the attack on the church was most unfortunate. “We condemn the incident. This is an attack on the unity and integrity of the country and should not be tolerated at any cost. The secular image of the country gets damaged as a result. What is disturbing is the fact that such incidents are increasing day by day. Strict action must be taken against the culprits. Such happenings cannot be tolerated in a secular country like India,” he said.
Manjit Singh of Aam Admi Party also condemned the incident and asked for a thorough probe in the matter so that the guilty could be punished at the earliest.
Meanwhile, Saurabh Singh, DIG Gurgaon – he holds the additional charge of Hisar – has told Firstpost that the matter was under investigation and those guilty of the attack will be arrested and prosecuted soon. “We have booked 14 people on charges of rioting, damaging place of worship, theft and promoting enmity on the basis of the complaint against them by the church priest.” No arrests have been made so far.