Chaos unfolded at the New Delhi World Book Fair in Pragati Maidan today when a group of over 30 people attacked a stall belonging to Gideons International, a Christian non-profit.
At least 15 eyewitnesses and non-profit volunteers told Newslaundry that the group of men approached the stall at around 2.15 pm. Some of them wore saffron scarves, and some had tikas on their foreheads.
The stall, like several other booths exhibiting spiritual books at the fair, had posters indicating that visitors could pick up free copies of religious texts. In this particular instance, the posters said “Free Holy Bible”. The group “tore the posters” and grabbed copies of the book New Testament: Psalms and Proverbs.
Newslaundry was told that the group then raised slogans of “Jai Shri Ram” and “Bharat Mata ki Jai”, sat down around the stall, and refused to leave for 20 to 25 minutes. They also began reciting the Hanuman Chalisa while “yelling” at those running the stall. They also asked the stall’s volunteers to “stop distributing copies of the Bible for free” and to “stop converting people to Christianity”.
It should be noted that this is just one of many stalls run by religious organisations. The Delhi Book Fair houses other stalls run by Hindu, Muslim and Sikh groups too, some of which also distribute free copies of religious books to passersby.
Newslaundry reviewed two videos of the incident. The videos show security approaching the “protesters” who were sitting near the stall. The protesters, wearing saffron scarves, can be seen chanting the Hanuman Chalisa and shouting “Bharat Mata ki Jai” and “free Bible bandh karo”. Stop free Bibles.
At the time of publishing this story, Gideons International had not filed a complaint with the police in the matter.
This story was originally published in newslaundry.com. Read the full story here