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'Conversions led to church attack'

'Conversions led to church attack'

Author: Statesman News Service
Publication: The Statesman
Date: December 26, 2002

Preliminary investigations have revealed that the Catholic church which was attacked and robbed was involved in converting the area's residents to Christianity, police here said today. Police suspect that the attack was pre-planned and carried out by local villagers because they were against conversions and also wanted to disrupt the Christmas party.

"All of them (the attackers) were wearing masks but we suspect that all of them were from nearby villages," Father Abraham of the church said.

Some residents said the church authorities started converting the villagers into Christianity soon after it was opened in 1951. "Slowly they opened 13 more churches in the area which became the bone of contention of the local people since more and more villagers were turning to Christians," a senior police officer said. Things have come to such a pass that there are more Christians in Tehatta which previously had a dominant Muslim population.

Father Abraham said that preparation for a five-day Christmas party has stopped following the robbery. "We had decided to hold processions, stage theatres, poems and other functions till 1 January but now everything has been stopped." The villagers who have converted to Christianity are shocked at the incident. "They could have taken some other way to protest than attacking the church," one of the newly converts said.

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