Christmas Celebrations Disrupted In Rajasthan's Pratapgarh Over Conversion Allegations

The men who barged in were accompanied by the police, say the organisers of the Christmas celebrations.

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Two members of the organising committee were taken to the police station for questioning

Pratapgarh:  Christmas celebrations at a community centre in Rajasthan's Pratapgarh district were disrupted last night by a local right-wing group who accused the organisers of trying to convert their guests to Christianity.

According to "Masih Shakti Samiti", the organisers of the event, some people barged into the community centre at around 8.30 pm last night when about 30 of them were settling for dinner and created a ruckus, pulling down the modest decorations that they had put up and throwing around other literature and books.

The incident comes days after fringe groups in some towns of Uttar Pradesh threatened to disrupt Christmas and New Year celebrations in private schools. One such group had called such activities "a step towards forced conversions" of Hindu students, prompting the state police to alert district police chiefs across the state to ensure there were no disruptions.

The community centre, a government building, is right in front of the Collector and the Superintendent of Police's office. The organisers say they got access to the community centre because they had applied for permission from the district authorities.

In a video shot on a camera phone later, the men can be seen rummaging through the books and some literature in the presence of a policeman to show the evidence to back up their charge of illegal religion conversion. "They are trying to convert innocent villagers," a voice in the video shouts as the man picked up a book.

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No formal complaint has been filed, either against the Christian group or the people who disrupted the event.

Two members of the organising team were the only ones detained. They were taken to the police station for questioning and released late in the night.

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