Satna attack: “Converted” man changes statement
Bhopal: Dharmendra Dohar, the man who alleged that he had been illegally converted by a group of Christians, has told reporters that he has been a member of the right wing group, the Bajrang Dal, for a year.
Dohar, who complained to the police that he was illegally converted and paid 5,000 rupees for it, was, however, unwilling to confirm that claim before television cameras.
Asked if he has really changed his religion, Dharmendra Dohar told reporters, “I can’t speak on this… If I do, I will get embroiled in the issue… it will be said that I’m changing my statement”. The “group”, he said, doesn’t want “such people (Christians) to come in here.”
Asked who he was afraid of, the Bajrang Dal or the police, he said, “I’m concerned about my family. It is because of me they got in trouble… we were told not to allow these people (Christians) to come into our homes and mingle with us.”
Dohar’s complaint had brought police to a village in Satna on December 14, where a pre-Christmas program had been organized by the local seminarians. Five men, one of them a priest, had been arrested.
The carolers – 32 of them — were picked up from the village and questioned by the police. The police also detained eight other priests who went to inquire about the incident. All were released in the wee hours of December 15, but all priests and three seminarians were asked to appear in the court.
“The Fathers and Brothers had gone for the program, when a group of Bajrang Dal people had turned up and accused us of carrying out conversions and then the police came… After being taken to the police station, they were beaten up by another group of Bajrang Dal members,” said Fr Robin.
When other priests went to meet the Churchmen, they were beaten up as well, he said. Many of the men sustained injuries and started bleeding. “They even set fire to one of our cars,” he said.
The Bajrang Dal’s accusations of conversions, he said, were entirely false, ndtv.com reported.
Both police and the Bajranj Dal have denied allegations of assault. “They are converting people for long… We reached there with the police (but) we have not raised our hands,” said Yatindra Pathak, the group’s district convener.
However, a Catholic priest who was detained, told Matters India they were assaulted inside the police station premises. One priest was seriously injured.
No case has been filed on the assault.
The police arrested six Christians, including Father George M, were arrested. They were released on bail later and a case was filed against them.
Rajesh Hingankar, a senior police officer, said, “18-year-old Vikas Shukla was arrested on Saturday for allegedly torching the car” .
Dohar had claimed he was illegally converted. Cases against priests have been filed after his allegations. Asked if he has changed his religion, he told reporters, “I can’t speak on this… If I do, I will get embroiled in the issue… it will be said that I’m changing my statement”.