One Catholic priest was arrested after the Bajrang Dal accused members of a seminary of trying to convert villagers near the Satna town to Christianity, Reuters reported on Saturday, quoting police. The priest is now out on bail and was among the six booked in Madhya Pradesh on Friday.
The police are yet to identify the other five persons, The Indian Express reported. The priest, M George, teaches at St Ephrem’s Theological College.
The six people face charges under the Freedom of Religion Act and Sections 153B and 295A of the Indian Penal Code. Police are also questioning some other members of the seminary, who the Hindu group accused of distributing the Bible, photos of Jesus Christ and singing carols in a village.
The group was detained on Thursday evening for several hours, after a resident of Bhumakahar village, Dharmendra Dohar, alleged that he was being forcibly converted to Christianity.
Some priests and seminarians, who were released in the early hours of Friday, complained that Bajrang Dal activists had manhandled them and set their car on fire while they were inside the police station. Two police officials in Bhopal told Reuters they had detained six Bajrang Dal members for allegedly setting the car on fire.
On Friday, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference condemned the incident and demanded that the administration penalise the accused. Secretary General Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas refuted the allegations of forced religious conversions as “frivolous and laughable”. He also accused the police of being complicit during the incident.