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Telangana: Clashes in Janwada between Methodist Church and villagers over widening of road in front of the Church, 14 injured

The problem started around 7 PM when members of the Methodist Church objected to road widening by HMDA, calling it encroachment.

At least 11 people suffered injuries and a Church got damaged after clashes over road widening at Telangana’s Janwada village in Mokilla on Tuesday (13th February) night. Police enforced section 144 of CrPC after the clashes, which outlaws assembly of 5 or more individuals, from Wednesday (14th February) evening till 11 PM on 21st February.

The problem started around 7 PM when members of the Methodist Church objected to road widening by HMDA, calling it encroachment. They insisted the road encroached on the Church land, while the local villagers insisted on road work.

The dispute resulted in clashes between the two parties, which quickly escalated into stone pelting from both sides. As many as 14 people are said to have suffered injuries.

“There was intense pelting of stones. One community was more aggressive as they were the bigger group,” the police said. 

Telangana United Christian Pastors Association (TUCPA) general secretary Goneh Solomon Raj, who along with a group of Christian leaders visited the victims at the hospital, said the confrontations began over installing a cement road that purportedly crossed the church premises.

“The villagers wanted to extend eight feet into the church’s land, and an argument rose between the village sarpanch, Mandal Praja Parishad (MPP), the Ward members, and the members of the church,” he said.

“A large mob barged into the church and started to attack the congregation of about 30 people with stones, cement bricks, and sticks, and broke the church doors. A girl was also injured in the attack,” he claimed.

Meanwhile, the villagers have lodged a police complaint against the church members. The accused persons have been booked under provisions of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, under the IPC. S 143 (unlawful assembly), S. 147 and 148 (Rioting), S. 224 (resistance or obstruction to arrest), and S. 503 (criminal intimidation).

The injured, from both communities, with head injuries have been admitted to Gandhi Hospital. They are currently undergoing treatment.

Throughout the day, tensions rose in Janwada as church members protested at the village crossroads on the Shankerpally highway, demanding the arrest of all those engaged in the attack.

So far, the Mokila police have registered two criminal cases on charges of rioting, promoting enmity between two communities, and violation of the SC & ST Act.  “Our priority is to restore peace. We will act against those who resorted to violence,” police said.

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