by Muslim Mirror Staff
On June 24, an incident occurred in Shahzadpur village, located in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur Dehat district, where a group of approximately 80 people, suspected to be affiliated with Hindu groups Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Assembly of Hindus), engaged in destructive actions. The mob tore down the tin sheet boundary wall and caused damage to closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras at a construction site.
During the incident, the mob also raised slogans and placed saffron-coloured flags with the inscription ‘Jai Shri Ram’ (Hail Lord Ram). An official informed the media about the events that transpired during the incident.
“We have some land at Shahzadpur village where the construction work of St. Mary’s School and a chapel is underway. A Hindu group objected to the chapel and caused some damage at the site,” Bishop Louis Mascarenhas of Allahabad told UCA News on June 29.
According to the prelate, the school building and chapel remained undamaged as the police intervened promptly and dispersed the mob.
Under constructed Church vandalised by VHP/Bajrangdal. This video was shared on Facebook live by a VHP page claiming that Bajrang Dal & VHP stopped the "illegally" constructed Church in Akbarpur, Kanpur Dehat.
C'C : @Uppolice @kanpurdehatpol pic.twitter.com/DXOZHGzNvH
— Mohammed Zubair (@zoo_bear) June 24, 2023
However, a leader from Bajrang Dal informed the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency that the construction of a church was taking place without proper permission, and the local administration had not taken any action to stop it.
In response to the incident, the police have registered a case against 13 individuals, including Gaurav Shukla, the district convenor of Bajrang Dal, and around 70-80 unidentified individuals. The charges against them include unlawful assembly, criminal conspiracy, rioting, and property damage, among other offences.
The mob has also been accused of obstructing public servants on duty and causing voluntary harm, as stated by the police to PTI.
Ajeet Raj, a local leader of Bajrang Dal, told the media that the construction of the “church” was taking place near a missionary school without the necessary government permission.
“We demand that the church be demolished or we will launch a large-scale protest,” he said.
According to Pastor Jitender Singh, who is based in Kanpur, the hardline Hindu groups in Uttar Pradesh are actively seeking to provoke conflict between different religious communities.
“The police have registered a case only because some of the group members misbehaved with government officials at the site,” he told UCA News.
Satish Kumar Singh, a police official responsible for the Akbarpur police station in the district, confirmed that the protesters behaved inappropriately with government officials when they attempted to dissuade them from taking matters into their own hands.
It is worth noting that Christians constitute only 0.18 percent of Uttar Pradesh’s population of 200 million people.
They have often been targeted and subjected to victimization, particularly since the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government of the state passed an anti-conversion law in February 2021. This law criminalizes religious conversions conducted through allurement, force, or coercion.