A First Information Report (FIR) was registered against members of a Dalit family in Karnataka‚Äôs Belagavi district who were attacked by Hindutva groups over allegations of converting their neighbours to Christianity. In the complaint by the members of the Hindutva group Bajrang Dal in Tukkanatti, Belagavi, they alleged that the members of the family assaulted them when they arrived at their residence, raising allegations of conversions. However, police officials investigating the case say that there were no conversions taking place and that the family did not assault the men from Hindutva groups who arrived at their residence.
"We have taken complaints from both groups and we are investigating the case but we have verified so far that there were no conversions happening. It was a prayer meeting that the family held every year in the week after Christmas," Shrishail B, the police inspector of Ghataprabha police station said.
The police official also stated that the complainants did not suffer injuries during the altercation. The police are yet to make arrests in the case.
The incident occurred on the afternoon of December 29 in Tukkanatti village in Belagavi. At the time, Akshaykumar Karaganvi, who says he has been a Christian believer for the last 21 years, was holding prayers at his residence when members of Hindutva groups barged into the house and asked them to stop their prayers. The men accused the family of converting their neighbours and allegedly hit them.
The complaint given by Akshay's family detailed an attack by men who accused the family of converting people to Christianity. "The men barged in after the prayer was done and we were getting ready for lunch when many people came in and started arguing with me. The men hit Bharathi, my sister-in-law and took off her mangalsutra. Her son Sudhakar was also hit and sambar was hurled at Mahadevi, my aunt," said Akshay. He added that the men were acting aggressively and also broke chairs and vandalised their home.
Akshay says he went to the police station that night to file a complaint and says that the police urged him to work out a compromise. "They insisted that I shouldn't file a complaint and said that if I file a complaint, they'll also take a counter complaint against us," said Akshay.
The police booked seven men from Hindutva groups for rioting, trespassing as well as under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The police also booked Akshay and his family for assault, rioting and attempting to murder the men who barged into the house. This is despite the fact that none of the men who barged in were injured in the altercation as per the police. "We don't know why the police have taken up a case against us in this incident," said Akshay.
Speaking to TNM, Parasappa Babu, the complainant from the Bajrang Dal said that he and his associates were cornered by the family and assaulted. He, however, claimed that the men had not suffered any external injuries. "We have suffered injuries internally and we are recovering at home," Parasappa Babu said.