The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) denied allegations of forced conversion, and said that 30 seminarians and two priests from the Theological College were detained by police when they were conducting a carol singing programme - a routine practice during Christmas season for the last 30 years. The group said it was only visiting villages to sing songs.
Some of the priests and seminarians, released in the early hours of Friday, alleged they had been roughed up by members of the right-wing group on the police station's premises. Police said they were unaware of who torched the vehicle, and added that they had registered a case under IPC Section 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance) in connection with the incident.
Verghese denied any attempt at religious conversion. "We have booked (priest) M George and five others on the complaint of Dharmendra Dohar, a local youth who claimed he was illegally converted on December 10", Sub-inspector Mohinee Sharma of Civil Lines police station told PTI.
The mob attacked the Christian students inside the police station, and set fire to the priest's auto parked outside.
"We were beaten up in front of the police, but they did nothing", he complained. It was the vehicle they used that was burnt by activists.
Police let off members of the Catholic group around 3:30 am.
All 32 carollers, accompanied by two priests, were taken to the police station.
Meanwhile, father Rony stated that "the diocese was running a seminary at Barakala village in Satna district for the last 20 years and not a single person there had converted to Christianity".
Satna (M.P.), Dec 16 (ANI): A Catholic priest was arrested while almost 40 others were detained on charges of forced.
Several Christian organisations have registered their protest. "Charge of conversion on which the priests and seminarians are detained is frivolous and laughable".
Madhya Pradesh, a BJP-ruled state, has an estimated 2.1 lakh Christian population, as per the 2011 census.