Members of the Hindu Yuva Vahini (HYV), a Hindu extremist organisation led by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, stopped a religious meeting in a church in Maharajganj district of Uttar Pradesh. The HYV were aided by the local police in their attempts to stop the meet, which was attended by 11 US nationals.
On Friday morning, a group of around 150 people, including 11 US nationals from the Christian community gathered at a church in Dadhauli village, which comes under Kothibhar police station of Maharajganj district. While the group was praying, some members of Hindu Yuva Vahini reached the place and saw US nationals in the prayer meeting.
Members of Hindu Yuva Vahini reached Kothibhar police station, alleging that the priest and US nationals were involved in a religious conversion in the church premises. Anand Kumar Gupta, SHO Kothibhar station, accompanied them to the church and stopped the prayer. Police found no such practice was being carried out. But police did check the passports and visas of every US national and let them go after finding everything was fine and proper.
While talking with TwoCircles.net, Anand Kumar Gupta said, “They (HYV activists) came to us with the complaint that US nationals were carrying out the religious conversion in the church. We responded to the complaint and found no such thing was happening on the ground. But we did check their papers.”
Witnesses report that the whole fiasco lasted for more than five hours. Police, along with the local intelligence unit checked and questioned US nationals. While the on-site investigation was still on, Hindu Yuva Vahini member kept insisting about filing a case against and the arrest of church priest U Hannah Adam.
The situation got serious after police let the US nationals leave the place. HYV activists created a chaos and questioned the police why they let them go. Angry members of HYV, which included Krishnanandan Puri aka Pappu Puri, Rajesh Kharwar, Manish Sharma and Sheshmani Yadav and others, intensified their demand to arrest the church priest.
However, the police declined all of their demands.
SHO Anand Gupta informed that they were demanding the arrest of priest and US nationals and to investigate the matter thoroughly. “But investigating a simple prayer meeting would mean creating a hindrance in the religious freedom of the individual”, added Gupta.
A source also informed that police intervention was necessary as members of HYV had vandalised a church and beaten people in Belwa village a few weeks ago.
A person related to the local church, who was present at the meeting on Friday morning, said on the condition of anonymity, “We were just praying there. No such conversion was being carried out but goons came and tried to disrupt a peaceful event with the help of the police.”
This story was first published on Two Circles.