Phagwara: A priest has been arrested on the charge of misbehaving with female members of a ‘bhajan mandali’ (group of religious singers), hurting their religious sentiments and criminal intimidation, police said on Saturday. Following a complaint by a 65-year-old member of the religious singers’ group, Dinesh Sharma of Hadiabad sub-town, was arrested yesterday, Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Inder Singh said. The complainant claimed that she, along with some other women, had been performing ‘kirtan’ (singing hymns) at Dharamsala Dugglan and Yamuna Das Shivala Mandir Tope for the last 35 years, he said.
They started recitation of ‘Durga Stuti’ on April 8 and its ‘bhog’ (culmination) was to be held on April 15. But yesterday morning, when they went to the shrine, they found the Satsang Hall locked, the ASI said. The priest said he won’t allow the culmination ceremony as they had begun the recitation without his permission. He also allegedly used foul language and started shoving them off, Singh said, adding the priest reportedly flung his slippers at them, one of which hit the complainant. However, the women later returned and staged a protest against the priest and lodged a police complaint. Dinesh Sharma was arrested under Section 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship, with intent to insult the religion of any class) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC, and has been sent to 14 days’ judicial custody by a local court, the ASI said.
For more news updates Follow and Like us on Facebook