Four more youths have been arrested in connection with the alleged vandalisation of a church on the city outskirts, taking the total number of those taken into custody so far to nine, police said on Monday. 

“In all, nine persons have so far been taken into custody in connection with the alleged vandalisation of the prayer hall located at Kachna village on the outskirts of the state capital,” Inspector General of Police, Raipur Range, G P Singh told PTI. 

Out of the nine held, six are minors, he said. Singh said interrogation of the nine youths was on and information was also being sought about the group to which they belong. The miscreants fled the spot when the police arrived there. However, motorcycles of two youths were left behind at the premises, based on which the nine were arrested. 

As per information received so far, the villagers in Kachna area had complained to the administration that some people had set up a prayer hall by encroaching upon a land in the village. Police is enquiring with the villagers taking this also into account, the IG said. 

A group of about 15-20 youths allegedly sporting saffron bands on their forehead on Sunday barged into the church while prayers were underway and vandalised the premises and thrashed those present. 

Meanwhile, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh condemned the incident and said that police was conducting a probe into it. He said that strict action would be taken against the guilty and the offenders will not be spared. 

The president of Chhattisgarh’s Christian Forum, Arun Pannalal, had on Sunday alleged that the slogan-shouting attackers belonged to Bajrang Dal and that women and an infant were also not spared while the police in the state capital remained tight-lipped on their identity. They damaged chairs, fans and other articles in the premises and even beat up the people present, he said. 

Pannalal said the incident was the fourth attack on a Christian place of worship in the past one month in the state. 

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