A multitude of individuals nearly 300 people allegedly affiliated with RSS, VHP, and Bajrang Dal congregated outside the GTB Enclave police station, fervently chanting "Jai Shree Ram." Their ire was directed at members of the Christian community who had gone there to file a complaint regarding an alleged assault on them. People from the Christian community have alleged that they were subjected to assault, vandalism and physical abused by the members of Bajrang Dal.
On August 20th, a brutal attack unfolded upon members of the Christian community by a mob comprising 35-40 individuals armed with sticks, rods, and swords. The incident occurred at 10:45 AM while the victims were engaged in prayers within the premises of Siyyon Prathan Bhawan in the Tahirpur area when the assaulters entered the prayer hall with huge speakers playing “Hindu rashtra banayenge, Jai Shree Ram”
“We pray every Sunday, and by us, I mean people from our community gather to pray together and as usual we did the same this Sunday as well”, said Pastor Satpal Bhati speaking to Outlook, who was present at the time of the incident.
Bhati noted while recalling the incident that right after the prayer they heard loud music from outside the gate and decided to close the door to avoid any disruption. “The moment one of my people approached to close the gate, a mob of people, including very young kids barged in chanting Jai Shree Ram”
Bhati and other were stunned seeing swords, sticks and rods in the hands of the mob. For good few minutes, they couldn’t make sense out of what they were seeing until of the mob started to vandalize the entire place. Using the rods and swords, the mob broke the Casio, drums and other musical equipments, not just that, moving on they even tore the Bible, the holy book of Christians.
“One of the women who went to rescue the Bible from getting damaged was beaten with the rod. She has been deeply injured”, said Bhati.
The videos and images accessed by Outlook shows extensive damage and vandalism of the property inside the bhawan. Few women who were assaulted accepted how they were targeted by the mob and beaten with rods.
“They not only thrashed us but also tried opening our clothes”, said one of the victims crying as she held her right hand which was injured.
Right after vandalizing the entire place, the mob argued that this is a Hindu nation and nothing of this sort will be entertained anymore in the country.
“I still don’t know what they were talking about. Is praying in silence and peace wrong?” questioned Bhati.
“Ye Hindu Rashtra hai, yah pe ye sab nahi chalega. Ab courts ne bhi kaha hai ye sab nahi chalega”, meaning this is a Hindu nation and such things won’t be permissible anymore. Even the courts have denied such activities.
Members from the community who were present at the prayer hall corroborated to what Bhati said and recalled how they were attacked and not just them, it was also their religion that got attacked.
3 men and women respectively have claimed that were physically and verbally abused by the mob.
A huge chunk of people gathered right outside the police station to create a pressure on the police to not lodge any FIR on the given matter. However, an FIR has been lodged with the GTB enclave police station.
“Are they going to make this another Manipur?” asked Minakshi Singh, a tribal activist following the entire incident.
Minakshi has been in touch with the victims and taken account of the entire incident. She says it’s very sad to see where we are headed towards as a nation where no woman, kid or any minority is safe anymore.
The mob which attacked the prayer hall presumed that the community people were practicing conversion and had problem with them praying in an area which is pre dominantly Hindu based.
According to the United Christian Forum report, 2023 alone has seen violence against Christians in 23 states. And among 23 states, UP tops the list with 155 incidents, followed by Chhattisgarh with 84 cases.
As per their findings, there were 147 instances of church attacks in 2014, and this count has consistently escalated in nearly each subsequent year. The previous year witnessed a staggering 599 assaults targeting Christians, and within the initial 190 days of 2023, there have been 400 recorded attacks, as reported by The Siasat Daily.
“Hum iss desh ke hai hi nahi inke according”, ended Bhati with a note.
Outlook tried reaching out to the SHO of GTB Enclave police station but he was unavailable to give a comment on the issue.
The police arrested one person relating to the case on Monday and said the further investigation is underway. The man arrested is of the same loaclity and the police is trying to locate other accused involved in the incident.