Tension in Punjab village over church vandalism

Tension erupted in a village in Punjab’s Tarn Taran district located close to the India-Pakistan border on Wednesday after a group of miscreants vandalised a three-story church and broke the statues of Mother Mary and Jesus Christ.

Condemning the incident, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann ordered a probe into the desecration and fire incident. “This is a highly condemnable incident, and severest of severe action must be taken against the perpetrators of this heinous crime,” said the Chief Minister in a statement.

He said he has directed the Director General of Police (DGP) to minutely probe into this unpardonable incident. He said this incident is a handiwork of the forces inimical to the peace, prosperity and progress of the state.

After keeping the security guard captive at gunpoint, the miscreants also set on fire the pastor’s car. Visuals of the car engulfing in flames and vandalisation of the statues were caught on CCTVs.

A person was caught on the camera repeatedly hitting the idol with a hammer.

A large number of people belonging to the community staged a sit-in protest at Thakarpura village, the crime spot, demanding the arrest of the accused and security for the minority community.

The incident comes a day after the Akal Takht Jathedar, head of the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs, issued a statement against “forced conversions” by Christian missionaries.

“So-called Christian missionaries have been forcibly converting Sikhs through fraudulent practices. Sikhs and Hindus of Punjab are being misled and converted. This is happening right under the government’s nose. Though there are provisions in the law to book for superstitious practices in the name of religion, no government is ready to act against them (missionaries) due to vote bank politics,” Giani Harpreet Singh had said.

Two days earlier, a group of nihangs and their supporters disrupted an event organised by Christian missionaries at Daduana village in Amritsar.

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