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India: Christians Denied Right to Sing Christmas Carols

Friday 15 December 2017, by siawi3

Source: https://sabrangindia.in/article/christians-denied-right-sing-christmas-carols-madhya-pradesh

Christians Denied Right to Sing Christmas Carols: Madhya Pradesh

Written by Sabrangindia Staff

Published on: December 15, 2017

In what appears to be a shocking act of state repression, Christian priests were reportedly detained by police after a Hindutva group accuses them of forced conversion in Madhya Pradesh

Photo: Indian Christians

Acting under the influence of these right-wing groups, the police has registered a case against M George and five others under Sections 153 B (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration) and 295 A (outraging religious feelings) when all they were doing is singing Christmas carols. Secretary General of CBCI, Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, said the violence against the priests and seminarians was unprovoked and the charge of conversion was frivolous. He alleged that police stood by helplessly as priests and seminarians were assaulted.

A group of priests and seminarians, reportedly singing Christmas carols in Satna town of Madhya Pradesh, was detained by police late Thursday after a right-wing group accused them of forced conversion.

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) told the media 30 seminarians and two priests from St Ephrem’s Theological College in Satna were detained when they were conducting a routine carol singing program. Eight priests, who went to the civil lines police station to inquire about the detained priests, were also held. A vehicle belonging to them was also set on fire outside the police station.

Officials at the police station said the detention followed a complaint lodged by Dharmendra Dohar, a resident of Bhumkahar village. The 21-year-old had alleged that he was being forcibly converted to Christianity, police station in-charge Mohini Sharma told The Indian Express.

The police has registered a case against M George and five others under Sections 153B (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration) and 295A (outraging religious feelings). A case under Section 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance) has also been registered in connection with the torching of the vehicle. Sharma said the accused were not booked under the anti-conversion law yet because the probe into the allegations by the Bajrang Dal was still on. She said it was not clear how the car caught fire. No one has been arrested so far, said police.