Condemning the recent attack on a church in Chhattisgarh, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Friday said such acts of vandalism are unfortunate and must stop at once.
A church was vandalised and six police personnel, including an IPS officer, were attacked and injured on January 2 during a protest by tribals over an alleged religious conversion in Chhattisgarh's Narayanpur city, police had said. The chief minister said that Christians have been “at the receiving end” and the state governments should intervene and ensure justice is done. “An attack on a church is unfortunate. Such acts of vandalism should stop at once. Christians are at the receiving end and justice (should) be given wherever due," Sangma told PTI.
Meanwhile, the development triggered a war of words between the BJP and the Congress in Meghalaya, with the saffron party accusing the latter of not acting upon such incidents of vandalism in Chhattisgarh. “Churches have been attacked and vandalised. Christians have been attacked and injured. And the Congress government there is relaxed... Such crimes can only take place in a state ruled by the Congress,” BJP state party chief Ernest Mawrie said. The state Congress said it has written to the Chhattisgarh government, urging strict action against all those responsible for the January 2 church attack, and ensuring protection of the minorities.
Rubbishing the BJP's allegations, Congress leader P N Syiem said, “All these criminal acts are committed to discredit the Congress government (in Chhattisgarh). We are aware that the Congress (there) had nothing to do with it.” Regional parties in Meghalaya, all allies of the ruling National People's Party, have also voiced concern over the church attack. “We unanimously condemn such vandalism, and such open attacks on minorities only indicate that the government has remained soft on hate crimes. We demand the strictest of punishments for all involved,” United Democratic Party general secretary Jemino Mawthoh said.