Hindu activists on Tuesday allegedly disrupted a Christmas celebration in Rajasthan’s Pratapgarh town under the pretext that the organisers were carrying out religious conversions.
A video clipping of the incident showed a number of Hindu activists raising a ruckus at the event, organised by the Pratapgarh branch of the ‘Masih Shakti Samiti’ for tribals, and laying waste to hymn books as well as other prayer material.
Karu Lal, the event coordinator, said they were attacked by about 20 people that evening. “The event started at 10 am yesterday, but around 7.30 pm, a group of people accompanied by the police arrived at the scene and ordered us to halt the proceedings,” he told HT over the phone from Pratapgarh.
Lal also alleged that police took two tribals – Ramesh Meena and Manish Mekwan – into custody, and released them at 1.20 am the next day.
The event coordinator said his organisation had approached the additional collector with an application for permission to hold the event, which he approved with his signature. “He then told us to get the Pratapgarh police’s permission. However, when we visited the local police station, the station house officer simply took a photocopy of the letter and told us to go ahead with the programme. He refused to give us his permission in writing,” Lal added.
HT accessed a copy of the application, which clearly states that the event was to be held from 10 am on December 19 to 3 pm the next day.
Pratapgarh superintendent of police Shivraj Meena denied the allegations of vandalism. “The organisers did not have permission to hold a religious gathering. So, they voluntarily halted the programme upon being approached by the police,” he told HT over the phone.
Lal, meanwhile, condemned the incident. “We have faith in Jesus Christ, and had gathered to offer prayers to him. I don’t know why they disrupted the event,” he said.
State VHP president Narpat Singh Shekhawat denied any knowledge of the inciden