Indian carol singers arrested after 'conversion' complaint

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They alleged that Bajrang Dal activists attacked the gathering, beat up some of the priests, and torched the theological school's auto, and that the police had detained six of the carol singers from Satna. "Shamefully the situation outside the police station was allowed to be so hostile that even those who wanted to approach the detained persons could get no access to them", he added.

Hindu activists have beaten eight priests and torched their vehicle outside a central Indian police station.

The seminarians and priests were released around 4 am on Friday but were asked to appear before the court later.

The City Superintendent of Police D.D. Pande told IANS that a man, Dharmendra Dohad, has registered a complaint that he was paid Rs 5,000 and had converted to Christianity.

In his complaint, Dharmendra Dohar alleged that Christian community members have been visiting the village for the past two years and luring him with money to convert to Christianity. This happened when they were conducting a routine Christmas carol singing programme that has been the practice during the Christmas season for the last 30 years in the town.

Eight priests who had come to the Civil Lines Police Station on Friday to inquire about the previous day's detentions were also detained, while their auto was torched.

"We were beaten up in front of the police, but they did nothing", he complained.

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Officers unofficially acknowledged that Bajrang Dal activists had told them that priests from the village church had on Thursday morning tried to convert a local man, Dharmender Dohar.

All 32 carollers, accompanied by two priests, were taken to the police station.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India has expressed concern over the detention of a carol-singing group in Madhya Pradesh's Satna on December 14, 2017.

Christian missionaries had faced trouble in Satna earlier also.

"Nobody has been formally charged with or arrested for the alleged conversion".

The cops had then said that a vigilante group called Dharma Jagran Manch had complained that the children were being taken to Mumbai by train for conversion to Christianity. However, the church had denied the charges then also.

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