Dehradun, November 3 : Adding to the alarming tally of attacks on churches, a pastor and a caretaker of a church along with a visitor were beaten up by a mob at Choyla Chandrabani area of Dehradun on Monday. A mob of about 50 people claiming to be the “Savarkar Sena”, roughed up Pastor Hemant, caretaker Ranjit and a visitor, Asher. It ransacked the church, looted the money that was offered by devotees and also took away a copy of the Bible, announcing its intention to desecrate it at a public place in the city.
According to sources, at around 9.30 am the mob shouting slogans like “Veer Savarkar Sena Zindabad” and “Dharam Parivartan Nahin Chalega” stormed the premises of the church which is run by the Bethesda Marg Trust. The police, however, managed to prevent the planned desecration of the Bible at the city Clock Tower.
H S Rao, a spokesperson of the Christian community, told The Indian Express that the three persons were beaten up in the presence of police personnel and Asher taken into custody. “It was only after they had been beaten up badly that the police personnel present at the spot intervened,” he said. After the residents of the area brought the incident to the notice of senior Congress leader Suryakant Dhasmana, he alerted the police who then swung into action to prevent the proposed desecration.
Patel Nagar SHO Dinesh Baunthiyal denied the allegation that the persons had been beaten up in the presence of the police. He said that the police had reached the spot after the incident and that Asher had been taken to the station only to ensure his protection.
Dehradun SSP Amit Sinha gave an assurance that the guilty would not be spared. However, no arrests have been made so far.
Meanwhile, Dhasmana attacked the forces of Hindutva stating, ‘‘They are trying to turn Uttarakhand into another Orissa and Gujarat.”
He criticised the B C Khanduri-led Government for failing to protect the rights of the minorities in the last five months.