Thane: 5 Bajrang Dal men arrested & released on bail. Assault on pastor & converts

October 28, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

5 Bajrang Dal men arrested

Pastor Kasbe & Christians targeted

Maharashtra, October 28, 2013: The CSF has taken strong exception to the attack on a Christian Faith Centre (Assembly of God) Sunday worship conducted at Kalwa, by Bajrang Dal fundamentalists at around 11.30 am. According to the pastors and believers who contacted The CSF, pastor Ajay Kasbe was officiating at the prayer service being held at Bhaskar Nagar in Kalwa East of Thane district in Maharashtra, when the goons attacked the gathering. The CSF and community leaders contacted the police, who were forced to act and arrested five Bajrang Dal sympathizers.

Earlier at the same prayer hall, Pastor Arul Raj, who has been conducting prayer services was severely beaten on 6th October 2013 and dragged to the police station on false complaints. After The CSF general secretary, Joseph Dias and others complained to the police, though initially reluctant, Sunday prayer service for the next two Sundays was held under police protection. Pastor Kasbe said, “They attacked us, accusing us of illegal conversions. They punched and kicked us and forcibly took me to the police station, while the congregation of about a hundred followed.

On Sunday morning (27th October), seeing police presence as good as non-existent, a mob of around 40 Bajrang Dal fundamentalists attacked the believers, while prayer service was on and mercilessly beat the pastor Kasbe, who was deputed by senior AG pastor Sunil Mantode and at least four church workers – Rajesh Vishwakarma, Ajay Vishwakarma, Shambhunath Yadav and Gulab Vishwakarma. Once again, the Bajrang Dal anti-social elements took the believers to the Kalwa Police Station, where they were insisting on a false case of conversions to be filed. However, the community leaders had already kept the police briefed of the persecution. The CSF had also earlier kept the Deputy Commissioner of Police informed and the police were compelled to register an FIR and 5 Bajrang Dal men were arrested.

The CR. No 531 / 13 was reportedly filed under various Sections of the IPC, such as 295 A, 298, 452, 323, 324, 142, 143, 146, 147, 148 and 149, which includes crimes such as hurting the religious sentiments, assault, rioting and unlawful assembly. The police gave The CSF name of the accused as Suraj Tiwari (21), Vivek Dubey (24), Yogesh Yadav (23), Ravi Singh (20) and Pawan Singh (25), who were identified by the believers.

The CSF has taken up the issue with the authorities, especially since the real culprits – one ‘Dr’ Dube, his son and Santosh of the neighbouring Krishna Society – were not arrested. Even those arrested were under bailable offences and the Bajrang Dal youth could easily get bail. According to latest reports reaching The CSF, all of these anti-social elements are now threatening the hundred odd who had converted and a social boycott is in place.

Pastor Arul Raj’s life is in danger, as they have warned him of dire consequences, if he returns to his place, which is being used as a worship center. The CSF is thankful to the pastors and Christian activists, who are praying and keeping watch. We will do our best too.

Joseph Dias said that the believers complained that in spite of the police constables being present, the Bajrang Dal fundamentalist were abusing the Christians and falsely accusing them, with the police taking no action. ” This is an attempt to polarize voters on communal lines, with elections being forthcoming and the Christian community fears and increase in such attacks. We therefore call upon the State Home Minister, Mr. RR Patil to give protection to Christian prayer halls and deal firmly with the culprits, who were trying to vitiate the atmosphere for political gains.

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