MARDAN, Sep 26: Two groups of Christian community on Wednesday scuffled over collection of financial assistance from government and donor agencies following the recent incident of burning of Sarhadi Lutheran Church in Mardan on Sept 21 allegedly by people protesting against sacrilegious film produced in the US, police and other sources said.

Both the groups attacked each other with clubs, sticks and chairs and levelled charges of embezzlement of church funds against each other.

The sources said that both the rival groups had opened separate accounts in banks for receiving financial assistance as different government officials and representatives of social welfare organisations were visiting the church and announcing financial assistance for the community.

They said that the rival groups, one led by Shamaon Masih and the other by Bishop Peter Majeed, scuffled with each other on Wednesday after exchange of hot words over collection of funds.

Talking to media persons, Shamoan Masih said that Sarhadi Lutheran Church was not burnt by Muslim protesters, but set ablaze by members of his rival group of Christian community.

Meanwhile, the city police have arrested Salman Masih and Sharon Masih, sons of Shamaon Masih, and Jan Masih, son of Bishop Majeed. The police registered FIR against both the groups and have started further investigations.

It has been learnt that Bishop Majeed, priest Ghulam Shad and Mr Andaryas, vice-president of the church, have opened separate bank accounts to collect donations from the government and national and international organisations.

The sources said that the Christian community leaders did not allow staff of tehsil municipal authority, Mardan, to clean the premises of the church following the burning incident.

PROJECTS FOR KATLANG: Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti said on Wednesday that Baizai irrigation project would bring green revolution in areas of Mardan and Malakand divisions by irrigating 25,000 acres of agriculture land.

He was speaking at a public meeting in Katlang tehsil here. He said that speedy construction of the irrigation scheme was in progress and the project would be completed soon.

On this occasion, Mr Hoti also highlighted other development works in PK-28 constituency of Mardan district and areas of Katlang tehsil. He said that under-construction projects of Rs310 million would be completed in the constituency in next few months.

He announced Rs16 million for sanitation in Kutchery area, Rs20 million for provision of separate feeder in Katlang grid station, Rs22  million for construction of road from Badar Chowk to Dherey road, Rs21 million for renovation of Babozai-Barthkhail road, Rs20 million for water supply schemes in Babozai locality and Rs8.7 million for development work in Shamozai union council.

Mr Hoti also inaugurated construction of five road projects besides construction work of the building of tehsil municipal administration, Katlang, which would be completed with a cost fo Rs196 million.

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