A group of men allegedly vandalised a book stall at Delhi’s World Book Fair on Wednesday after objecting to the distribution of copies of the Bible, The Indian Express reported.
The stall was being run by a Christian non-profit organisation named Gideon International.
Videos on social media showed protestors shouting slogans of “Jai Shri Ram”, “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and “Free Bible band karo [stop free Bibles]”.
An unidentified volunteer at the book fair told The Indian Express that there were other stalls where free texts from other religions were also being distributed.
“The men accused us of converting people by forcing them to take the books,” the volunteer said. “We told them that we were only distributing free books to passersby. There are others giving away free texts from other religions. But they didn’t listen.”
The protestors approached the stall at around 2.15 pm on Wednesday, Newslaundry reported, citing at least 15 witnesses and non-profit volunteers. The demonstrators began reciting the Hanuman Chalisa and told the volunteers at the stall to “stop distributing copies of the Bible for free” and to “stop converting people to Christianity”.
While volunteers claimed that the protestors tore religious books and posters, the police denied the allegation.
“We checked the area as well, no books were torn,” an unidentified police official told The Indian Express. “The group had only protested and was soon removed. There was no disruption or violence. The Gideons don’t wish to file a complaint and said the matter was sorted.”
Vishwa Hindu Parishad spokesperson Vinod Bansal said that the protest did not appear to be an organised one. “A few people had found out about the Christian group and went to confront them,” he said. “These groups and missionaries convert people by forcing them to take books. We don’t support this and asked them not to do the same. There was no violence or anything.”