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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

2 Shillong church elders reportedly harassed in Bihar, CM condemns incident

According to sources, the duo faced public rage and was later taken to a local police station. Amid the outcry, the matter is being taken up with Bihar authorities following the intervention of Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma. 

SHILLONG:

Two elder members of the Laitumkhrah Presbyterian Church here– Pastor Reuben G Laloo and Church Elder T Nongkhlaw– were reportedly harassed by miscreants while they were on their way to visit a church mission field to meet missionaries near Patna in Bihar on Tuesday.

According to sources, the duo faced a vicious public and were later taken to a local police station. Amid the outcry, the matter was taken up with Bihar authorities following the intervention of Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma.

Family sources informed that the two elders will reach Shillong on Wednesday.

Sangma took to the microblogging site and wrote, “Condemn the incident in Bihar where our elders from Presbyterian Church were manhandled by miscreants. Instructed Meg police to be in touch with Bihar police who are helping our elders, their statements are being taken to file FIR against those miscreants. @officecmbihar(sic).”

State Director General of Police Lajja Ram Bishnoi told The Meghalayan that he had spoken to the Superintendent of Police, Patna City, who said that the miscreants involved were allegedly supporters of Bajrang Dal.

“I spoke to the Superintendent of Police, Sandip. He said there was some altercation and the duo were slightly manhandled but the matter was under control and they will be provided security till the last point of departure. He said those involved were allegedly supporters of Bajrang Dal,” Bishnoi said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong informed that he received information at around 1.30 p.m. that the two Church elders were detained by some people in a place some 40 km from Patna.

Tynsong said that, as soon as the government received this information, it immediately contacted authorities in Patna wherein the state’s Director General of Police (DGP) spoke to his Bihar counterpart and also to the Superintendent of Police (SP), Patna (Rural), to get the exact details of the incident.

He informed that Chief Secretary Donald Phillips Wahlang also spoke to his counterpart in Bihar.

“What happened was that there was only a small misunderstanding. I have seen on social media that they were beaten up, which is not true. The issue has been resolved,” the deputy chief minister said.

Tynsong said that he felt compelled to clarify the matter to avoid the spread of fake news and panic on social media, and any resulting misunderstanding and inter-religious tension among communities.

He also urged those trying to spread misinformation to refrain from doing so.

“Government has taken serious note of this,” Tynsong said.

Tynsong also informed that the two elders were escorted by the police to the airport in Patna.

Pastor Lalooand ElderNongkhlawhave filed a first information report against those involved in the incident.

Meanwhile, East Khasi Hills, SP, Sylvester Nongtnger informed that, after receiving information of the incident, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Patna, and the Superintendent of Police (City), East Patna, was contacted by East Khasi Hills Police and the Meghalaya DGP.

“It was gathered that, at around 1.30 p.m., rumours had spread of some conversion going on in a house after which people had gheraoed [surrounded] it, leading to an altercation and [the mob] manhandled the occupants present therein,” Nongtnger said.

He also informed that the police from Alamganj Police Station arrived there to contain the situation and escorted the two people who are safe and without injury to the thana for safe protection.

“Bihar Police had been communicated to give all the security and protection for their onward journey to Shillong and have escorted them to the airplane. Legal action has been taken by Bihar Police against the miscreants,” the East Khasi Hills SP said.

WATCH:

The Khasi Jaintia Church Leaders’ Forum (KJCLF) on Tuesday stated that they were very concerned with the news that was circulated about the situation in Bihar where a Christian Pastor and a Church Elder from Shillong had encountered some incidents of hostility and aggression which could have put them in grave danger.

“We initiated prayers and intercessions for their welfare and safety and are thankful that no harm has befallen them as we also received information that they are returning back home,” KJCLF secretary, Edwin H Kharkongor said.

The KJCLF also denounced the perpetration of violence against the Christian Mission workers and expressed its appreciation to those responsible in the administration of both states for the efficient communication between them and for sorting the situation out in a proper manner.

While calling for prayers and support from believers, the Forum appealed to social media users to restrain from spreading news that has the propensity to provoke unwanted reactions.

Moreover, in supporting the work and services of Churches and Christian Mission organisations, the Forum also called on all concerned to be aware of local prevailing situations while fulfilling their mission work in other parts of the country.

Kharkongor also said that when two days ago Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited a Christian place of worship on Easter Sunday the Forum appealed to those in authority in the country to see that peace and harmony prevail in society.

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