A book stall at the New Delhi Book Fair, which is underway in Pragati Maidan, was vandalised by a group of the right-wing group on Wednesday. The bookstall was being run by The Gideons International, a Christian organisation, that was distributing copies of the Bible among other items.
Volunteers of the stall and eyewitnesses said that over 30 men with saffron scarves and tikkas on their forehead marched towards the shop at 2:15 pm and tore down posters “Free Holy Bible”. They grabbed copies of the book New Testament: Psalms and Proverbs, reports Newslaundry.
Like other similar stalls that focussed on religious texts, the shop was selling and giving out the same.
The right-wing men reportedly sat in front of the shop for nearly 25 minutes and yelled at the volunteers of the stall to stop distributing Bibles and accused them of converting people to Christianity.
Several videos of the incident on social media show the group chanting slogans like 'Jai Shri Ram', 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' while the Indian Express reported them shouting 'free Bible bandh karo' while reciting Hanuman Chalisa near the shop.
A group of over 30 people attacked a stall belonging to a Christian non-profit at the World Book Fair in Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.— Ahmed Khabeer احمد خبیر (@AhmedKhabeer_) March 2, 2023
They tore "Free Holy Bible" posters, chanted Jai Shri Ram, & told the group to "stop converting people."
The report quoted the police saying that while a protest had taken place, no books were torn and no violence was witnessed.
One of the volunteers said that although they approached the organisers of the book fair they were asked not to give out religious texts for free.
The Delhi Police said they had called the bookstall volunteers as well as Book Fair members, but nobody wanted to file a complaint.
According to a report by The Wire, a volunteer said that several Bibles were torn.
A spokesperson of Vishwa Hindu Parishad said that the incident does not indicate any organised protest. However, he added, "A few people had found out about the Christian group and went to confront them. These groups and missionaries convert people by forcing them to take books. We don’t support this and asked them not to do the same. There was no violence or anything.”