The 50-year-old Sacred Heart Church at Edka village in the Narayanpur district of Chhattisgarh was attacked by a mob of tribals on Monday afternoon, leaving many, including cops, injured.
Narayanpur has been witnessing sporadic clashes between tribals and Christians over alleged illegal conversion in the district.
Growing tensions spill over
On Sunday night, there was a bloody clash between the two sides, after which the tribals organised a protest meeting and a rally in Narayanpur.
But the protest on Monday turned violent and the mob ransacked the Sacred Heart Church in the city, vandalising the statues of Jesus Christ and Mother Mary.
“There were over 1000 students in our school at that time and they started crying seeing the mob. We got them out to the school ground. The mob did not enter the school, but damaged the church compound,” Father Jomon Devasia, the parish priest of Sacred Heart Church told Indiatimes.
SP injured in clashes
Superintendent of Police (SP) Sadanand Kumar also sustained injuries during the clash.
“A meeting was called by the tribal community in which we have advised the tribal leaders to organise the meeting in a peaceful manner. In the meantime, a few members of the community became uncontrollable and went to vandalise the church. I also met with police personnel and tried to alleviate the situation. They seemed convinced and were stepping back, but some people attacked me from behind in which I sustained injuries,” he said.
Don’t know why we were attacked
“We still don’t know why they attacked yesterday. Maybe because we have a church building. There was no provocation of any sort. The mob just ran into the church compound and desecrated it,” Father Jomon said.
The Sacred Heart Church was established in 1973, with just around 50 families in the community. The church has also been running a high school, which the priest said was the top-ranked in the district.
This story was originally published in indiatimes.com . Read the full story here