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Chhattisgarh: Six More Held For Church Vandalism, Attack On Cops In Narayanpur

The church, located on the premises of a private school, in Narayanpur city was targeted on Monday during a protest against alleged religious conversion in the tribal-dominated area.

The mobs armed with sticks and stones forcibly entered the church and vandalised it.
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Six more persons have been arrested in connection with the alleged vandalism at a church and attack on policemen in Chhattisgarh's Narayanpur district early this week, taking the number of those taken into custody to 11, police said on Saturday.

The church, located on the premises of a private school, in Narayanpur city was targeted on Monday during a protest against alleged religious conversion in the tribal-dominated area.  The protesters also attacked Narayanpur Superintendent of Police Sadanand Kumar and five police personnel when they were trying to disperse the crowd. "Six more persons were arrested on Friday in connection with the incident of riots in Narayanpur during a protest by people of a community," said Kumar, who sustained head injuries in the attack. 

The person who attacked the IPS officer is among the six held, said officials. Earlier, the president of the Bharatiya Janata Party's Narayanpur district unit and four others were arrested for their alleged role in the violence, the SP said. The police have registered four FIRs under Indian Penal Code sections pertaining to rioting, promoting enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion and race, criminal conspiracy and defiling places of worship.

Adequate security personnel have been deployed to maintain law and order in the Narayanpur district, the police officer said, adding the situation was peaceful and normal. On Monday, tribals gathered in Narayanpur, nearly 240 km from the state capital Raipur, to protest against a clash between two communities on Sunday over alleged religious conversion in Edka village in the district.  After the meeting, the crowd barged into a church and vandalised it, officials had said. The rioters also attacked a police team led by SP Kumar that arrived to control the situation. 

The discord between the Christian and non-Christian communities in the district had been brewing for some time.  Last month, a large number of people belonging to the Christian community staged a protest in front of the Collector's office in Narayanpur alleging "atrocities" against them. Protesters from at least 14 villages of the tribal-dominated district had claimed they were allegedly assaulted and evicted from their homes for following the Christian faith and sought action by the administration.

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