The Haryana government on Monday said the situation in Kaimri village in Hisar district was under control but being monitored after a controversy over vandalising a church allegedly by some radical Hindu elements.Tension prevailed in the village after the under-construction church was vandalised by miscreants and the idol of Hindu god Hanuman placed inside the premises.Police later took away the idol and a red-coloured flag related to Lord Ram from the premises to prevent the situation from getting out of hand.Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar told the assembly on Monday that a case has been registered against 14 people and investigation was in progress."There is peace in the village. The situation is under control and is being monitored," he said.
Khattar said the priest of the "so-called church" had gone out of the village, 260 km from Chandigarh, on March 6 and returned on March 13 to find the place vandalised.
Police said on Monday that 14 people were booked for rioting, damaging a place of worship, theft and promoting enmity, following a complaint lodged by the priest, Subhash Chand.No one has been arrested so far.The attackers damaged the cross at the church and allegedly took away some other items.The priest told the media that certain activists of the Bajrang Dal and others had threatened him earlier. He alleged that the same people could be behind the attack on the church."I was threatened by Bajrang Dal activists and other locals last month," the priest said.Haryana has a BJP government since October last year.Villagers alleged that the priest was trying to construct the church despite the fact that there was no Christian in the entire village.They alleged that the priest had bought the plot to build a house but he started converting it into a church.They also alleged that he was trying to convert people.
The villagers called a panchayat (village council) meeting on Monday to discuss the incident, and opposed any move to arrest people."The priest is unnecessarily trying to complicate matters. He has got a case registered against some former sarpanches (village headmen) and others, whom we do not even know. He was illegally constructing the church and vitiating the atmosphere through conversions," a villager said.Khattar said the villagers had complained to police and district authorities earlier against the priest, saying he was propagating teachings of the Bible to a group of labourers working in the under-construction premises."That matter is being investigated by police," he said.He said the priest had bought the 250-square metre plot two years back to build a house.