The incident occurred on Thursday after two priests and around 30 members of a Catholic group were detained over allegations that they were converting Hindus to Christianity. Father M Rony, social work director of Satna diocese, told news agency PTI that a group of men stormed the venue of a pre-Christmas celebration at Bhoomkar village on Thursday evening, and alleged that religious conversions was being organised there. The event, Father Rony said, had been organised for children by the Syro-Malabar Church.
Eight priests who later went to the police station to ask about those detained were also held back. It was the car they used that was burnt by activists who also allegedly assaulted the Christian group outside the police station.
Those detained were released after questioning.
"He was given a holy dip in a pond and his name was changed to Dharmendra Thomas, the complainant said. They also asked him to pray to Lord Christ," Superintendent of Police DD Pandey told IANS on Friday.
Asked if he had, indeed, changed his religion, Dharmendra Dohar - who claimed to have been a member of the Bajrang Dal for a year - told reporters, "I can't speak on this... If I do, I will get embroiled in the issue... it will be said that I'm changing my statement". The "group", he said, doesn't want "such people (Christians) to come in here".
Get the latest election news, live updates and election schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on ndtv.com/elections. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for updates from each of the 543 parliamentary seats for the 2019 Indian general elections.