Mumbai Crime: Eleven people attack Christian gathering in a bungalow; 12 injured

Updated: Jan 05, 2019, 08:32 IST | PTI |

The attack took place in a rented bungalow at Kowad village under Chandgad taluka, on December 23 in which 12 people were injured, an official said.

Representational Pic
Representational Pic

At least 11 people were arrested for allegedly attacking a Christian gathering in Maharashtra's Kolhapur district last month, said police Thursday. The attack took place in a rented bungalow at Kowad village under Chandgad taluka, about 370km from here, on December 23 in which 12 people were injured, an official said.

The arrests were made from adjoining Karnataka. "We have arrested 11 people hailing from Belgaum in Karnataka during a search operation carried out during the week," Abhinav Deshmukh, Superintendent of Police, Kolhapur, told PTI.

Some of them are in police custody, while the others obtained bail from court, he said. The accused are in the 20-30 age group, but do not belong to any particular organisation, Deshmukh added. Two of the key accused were identified as Jotiba Patil and Pravin, said Sripad Yadav, inspector at the Chandgad police station.

During interrogation, the accused persons claimed that the man, who had taken the bungalow on rent since the last 12 to 15 years, was involved in spreading Christianity in the area, Deshmukh said. They attacked the place to send out a message that the people who gather there for prayers should stop their proselytising activities, he said.

While investigating the case, the police recorded statements of the injured persons and others who attended the congregation, he said. All of them denied they were involved in spreading Christianity and claimed they attended the gathering to overcome ailments and problems they were facing in their lives, he said.

A group of men armed with swords, iron rods and glass bottles, hailing from neighbouring Belgaum, had barged into the ground floor of the rented bungalow when Sunday prayers were on, the police had said. They threw stones at those attending the prayer. Some women, who were part of the prayer meet, forced the attackers to back-off by throwing chilly powder on them, they had said. The Maharashtra police had initially identified five of the assailants with the help of CCTV footage, following which arrests were made, Deshmukh said.

The police had formed several teams, including one from the Crime Branch, to investigate the case and also sought help from their Karnataka counterparts. A Christian delegation had met the police and the resident district collector, demanding security for the community and action against the accused persons.

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