HT Correspondent,Jabalpur, October 11, 2006
THE DHARMA Raksha Sena —- a VHP outfit, allegedly disrupted an annual meeting of Pentecostal Church on Tuesday evening at Khamaria. The Sena activists allegedly tore a banner and damaged the Church signboard outside the church on the first day of the five-day meeting that began 20 km from here. However, they could not gain an entry due to police presence.
The Sena activists reportedly created a scene near the Church alleging that some clerics arranged a healing meeting to lure Hindus to their faith. The Sena activists also lodged a complaint with the police for conducting an inquiry into the incident.
The pastor of the Pentecostal Church Augustine Rao, however denied there was any ‘healing meeting’ in the church. He said the annual convention was in progress.
The pastor said when meeting was about to end, the Sena activists created the scene near the place of worship on Tuesday night. He said they were so frightened that they even switched off the light. But as the Sena activists did not go, they lodged a complaint with the police, he said.
He said their religious society – Fellowship of Pentecostal Churches of God in India — is registered body since 1963. ‘Our society doesn’t indulge in any sort of religious conversion,’ he declared.
When contacted, City Superintendent of Police (Khamaria area) Armendra Singh denied that the Sena activists had disrupted the meeting. He said a strong police force was deployed at the venue. ‘We are looking into the complaint and we haven’t come across evidences that a healing meeting was held in the church or those there were indulging in conversion,’ he said.
Asked whether the police would take action against the Sena activists for disturbing the religious meeting, he said Sena has only lodged a complaint with the police and their activists haven’t disturbed the meeting. The meeting of the church on Wednesday was in progress amid heavy police arrangement.