A group of Christian missionaries was allegedly attacked on Friday in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi district based on allegations of forced conversions, reported The Indian Express.

The incident took place as Pastor Lazarus Cornelius of Union Church in Mussoorie, along with his wife Sushma Cornelius, had reached Chibala village where he was leading the Christmas prayers. A group of over 30 persons armed with sticks turned up at the venue alleging that forced conversions were being carried out there, the police said, reported the Hindustan Times.

“It was alleged by the locals, led by one Virendra Singh Rawat from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, that some outsiders have arrived in the Chhiwala village and they are doing religious conversions,” Purola station officer Komal Singh Rawat told The Indian Express. “There also was some altercation between both groups. Based on a complaint given by Virendra Singh Rawat, we have registered an FIR against the pastor and others.”

Komal Singh Rawat said that the police also registered another FIR following complaint from the other side, claiming that they were involved in worship when the locals arrived and assaulted them.

The FIR against the missionaries was registered under Sections 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) of the Indian Penal Code along with Section 3/5 of the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018, reported The Indian Express.

The police have booked the group led by Virendra Singh Rawat under Sections 147 (rioting), 153 A, 323, 504, 506 (criminal intimidation), and 427 (mischief causing damage) of the Indian Penal Code.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said on Sunday that strict action will be taken in the case, reported PTI.

“We brought in a stronger anti-conversion legislation solely to take stern action against those who force religious conversions by intimidating people or luring them,” the Bharatiya Janata Party leader said.

In November, the BJP government in Uttarakhand increased the jail term under the anti-conversion law from five years to 10 years.