India church
India churchReuters

Seven people were arrested Monday for beating up churchgoers in Raipur's Khachna colony while the people had congregated there for prayers Sunday. At least five people, including women, were reportedly injured in the attack.

At least 25 men entered a church during Sunday prayers in Chhattisgarh's capital, vandalised the premises and beat up devotees. A child was also roughed up and women's clothes were torn, reports said. The group had entered the premises chanting "Jai Shri Ram," NDTV quoted eyewitnesses as saying. 

The injured people were rushed to hospital immediately Sunday.

"They started damaging everything and tore up the women's clothes. They also knocked down a child. When the police came, they ran away," Arjun Pannalal, president of Chhattisgarh Christian Forum told NDTV. He also said members of Hindutva group Bajrang Dal were behind the attack.

"They began alleging that people were being converted here. They fled before police could reach the spot. However, the cops recovered three of the bikes (the attackers had ridden). They desecrated the Bible and some of the pictures hung on the wall," the Times of India quoted Pannalal as saying.

He also said they were targeted for their religion. Pannalal said this was the sixth attack on Christians in Chhattisgarh in six weeks. However, the police said the matter involved a land dispute.

"An FIR has been lodged against unidentified men under Sections 147 (disturbing law and order), 452 (trespassing after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint), 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) and 323 (voluntarily causes hurt) of the IPC. Medical test has been conducted of those who are hurt," Raipur city Superintendent of Police Neeraj Chandrakar told TOI Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Centre has taken cognisance of the attack.

"Police has taken necessary action, guilty will not be spared, (sic)" Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju told ANI Monday.