Home Pastors Masked men vandalize a church in the village of Tarn Taran and set pastor’s car on fire

Masked men vandalize a church in the village of Tarn Taran and set pastor’s car on fire

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Four masked men broke into a church in Tarn Taran district, Punjab, vandalized it and fled after setting the pastor’s car on fire, police said on Wednesday. Calling the incident “unforgivable”, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann ordered the Chief of State Police to have it investigated.

According to footage captured by CCTV cameras installed at the church, the intruders late Tuesday night took the caretaker hostage at gunpoint and tied his hands. They then vandalized two idols in the church, located in the village of Takkarpura near the town of Patti in the border district and as they left set fire to the pastor’s car.

Police said CCTV footage showed two of the masked men vandalizing the idols.

Members of the Christian community organized a demonstration, blocking several roads and demanding the immediate arrest of the accused. They also waved anti-government slogans.

Senior officials including Deputy Commissioner Munish Kumar, SDM Rajesh Kumar, IG PK Yadav, SSP Ranjit Singh Dhillon and DSP Satnam Singh arrived at the scene and appeased the protesters.

SSP Dhillon assured them that the culprits will be arrested soon. “It is a conspiracy of some evil elements who wanted to disturb the peace in the state. We have taken stock of the situation and are investigating the matter. We will soon catch those behind this incident,” the SSP said. .

The protesters canceled the dharna at the call of Bishop Agnelo Rufino Gracias who arrived there from Jalandhar.

Large numbers of police have been deployed to the area.

Station House Officer (Patti Sadar) Sukhbir Singh said a case had been registered under Sections 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings) and 452 (intrusion into the house) of the Indian Penal Code.

Meanwhile, CM Mann said: “This is a highly condemnable incident and the strongest measures must be taken against the perpetrators of this heinous crime.”

He said he ordered the DGP to investigate the “unforgivable” incident. “It is the work of the forces hostile to the peace, prosperity and progress of the state,” he said, adding that the incident was aimed at vitiating the peaceful atmosphere of the state and to derail “community harmony and brotherhood”. Mann said the state government would not allow such an attempt to succeed and ensured strict punitive action to deter others from committing similar crimes. “The government will spare no effort to put the perpetrators of this heinous crime behind bars,” he said.

Punjab Congress Leader Amarinder Singh Raja Warring said such incidents are deliberate attempts by some malevolent elements to divide people.

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Shiromani Akali Dal Chairman Sukhbir Singh Badal also condemned the vandalism and demanded exemplary punishment for the perpetrators of this heinous crime. “In line with the teachings of Guru Sahiban, I call on everyone to exercise restraint and respect all religions,” he added.

The incident comes a day after Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) head Harjinder Singh Dhami condemned the alleged efforts of “some so-called Christian missionaries” to convert people.

They also demanded the withdrawal of an FIR against some Nihang Sikhs who were convicted for allegedly disrupting an event organized by Christian missionaries in Daduana village of Amritsar on Monday.