The 50-year-old Sacred Heart Church at Edka village in the Narayanpur district of Chhattisgarh was attacked by a mob of tribals on Monday afternoon, leaving many, including cops, injured.

Narayanpur has been witnessing sporadic clashes between tribals and Christians over alleged illegal conversion in the district.


Growing tensions spill over

On Sunday night, there was a bloody clash between the two sides, after which the tribals organised a protest meeting and a rally in Narayanpur.

But the protest on Monday turned violent and the mob ransacked the Sacred Heart Church in the city, vandalising the statues of Jesus Christ and Mother Mary.

“There were over 1000 students in our school at that time and they started crying seeing the mob. We got them out to the school ground. The mob did not enter the school, but damaged the church compound,” Father Jomon Devasia, the parish priest of Sacred Heart Church told Indiatimes.


SP injured in clashes

Superintendent of Police (SP) Sadanand Kumar also sustained injuries during the clash.

 “A meeting was called by the tribal community in which we have advised the tribal leaders to organise the meeting in a peaceful manner. In the meantime, a few members of the community became uncontrollable and went to vandalise the church. I also met with police personnel and tried to alleviate the situation. They seemed convinced and were stepping back, but some people attacked me from behind in which I sustained injuries,” he said.

According to the Church authorities, there had been several clashes in the past couple of months, especially in the villages, between tribals and Christians.


Don’t know why we were attacked

“We still don’t know why they attacked yesterday. Maybe because we have a church building. There was no provocation of any sort. The mob just ran into the church compound and desecrated it,” Father Jomon said.

The Sacred Heart Church was established in 1973, with just around 50 families in the community. The church has also been running a high school, which the priest said was the top-ranked in the district.


Community living in fear

After the unprecedented violence on Monday, the community has feared more attacks and many have taken shelter elsewhere.

“As soon as the attacks started I told the community members not to come here and take shelter elsewhere. Most of them fled their house in the fear of targeted attacks,” he said.

Following the clashes on Monday, there is a heavy police deployment in the area to prevent more violence.

“There is a heavy police presence here in the city and Section 144 has been declared. But I was told that in some villages there are still clashes going on and mobs are gathering. These are Naxal areas and the Police are unable to stop them,” he said.


On Monday, Victor Henry Thakur, Archbishop of Raipur, also met Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, Bhupesh Baghel, who assured immediate action against the culprits. 

For more on news and current affairs from around the world, please visit Indiatimes News.

Click Here: St George illawarra Dragons Jersey