By Matters India Reporter
Bhagalpur, September 7, 2019: Police in Jharkhand state, eastern India, have taken into custody two Catholic priests and a catechist for allegedly indulging in forceful religious conversion.
A message from Father N M Thomas, vicar general of the diocese of Bhagalpur, says the police of Deodard on September 6 took away Fathers Arun Vincent and Benoy John and Munna Hansda from the Rajdaha Mission.
They were taken to the police station in Agiamur, about 90 km southeast of Bhagalpur, a town in Bihar state, and 60 km north of Dumka town in Jharkhand state.
The police also accused them of illegal occupation of land.
The police later released Father Vincent. “The other priest Benoy John and the catechists may be released after Muharram,” says a note from the vicar general.
The festival of Muharram, which marks the first month of the Islamic calendar, starts on September 11 this year.
The diocese comprises the districts of Bhagalpur, Banka, Jamui and the civil blocks of lakshmipur, Kharagpur and Tarapur of Munger district of Bihar, Godda, Giridih, Deoghar and Sarawan of Deoghar district and Mandro block of Sahebgunj district of Jharkhand.
Bhagalpur is a major city in Bihar, some 230 km east of Patna, the state capital.