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India: Delhi: Christian Pastor Assaulted, Forced to Chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’

Over 300 Instances of Violence Against Christians Were Reported in Nine Months of 2021: Report

Tuesday 15 March 2022, by siawi3


Delhi: Christian Pastor Assaulted, Forced to Chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’; Police Lodge FIR

The pastor, Kelom Tet, filed a complaint two days after the incident took place. However, the police did not register an FIR then and said they were probing the claims.

The Wire Staff


New Delhi: The Delhi Police registered a first information report (FIR) on March 3, Thursday, days after a pastor alleged that he was thrashed, humiliated and forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ by a group of unknown persons, who accused him of carrying out religious conversions “forcibly”, officials said.

The incident took place on February 25 at South Delhi’s Fatehpuri Berri area but the pastor, Kelom Tet, filed the complaint two days later at the Maidan Garhi police station, they said.

The Delhi Police confirmed to that they had received the complaint on February 27 evening, but no FIR had been registered. They said they were investigating the claims.

A day after the news outlet published the story, the Delhi Police registered an FIR.

A video of the incident was shared by journalist Aishwarya S. Iyer, in which Tet is seen to be tied to the divider and being accosted by a mob.

Thirty-five-year old Tet, who has been residing in South Delhi’s Asola for the last 18 years, recalled that he was targeted by another unknown group 15 years ago at Sanjay Colony in Delhi.

Also read: Over 300 Instances of Violence Against Christians Were Reported in Nine Months of 2021: Report

“Based on the complaint, we have lodged an FIR against unknown persons under sections 365 (kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine person), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code and an investigation is underway,” said Harsha Vardhan, additional deputy commissioner of police (south).

In his complaint, the pastor alleged that on February 25, a group of men harassed him and forced him to chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’ when he was on his way to work after meeting one of his friends.

Tet alleged in his complaint that the men snatched his Bible and tried to tear it, the police said, adding that the pastor was also allegedly punched and kicked.

“They snatched my bag which had valuables and the Bible. They tried to tear it but could not. They accused me of forcefully conducting religious conversions. They punched me, kicked me and forcefully took me in their car, saying they were taking me to Maidan Garhi police station. They also threatened to break my arms and legs,” he alleged.

The pastor was allegedly taken to Fatehpur chowk where the men tied his hands with ropes and started punching and kicking him again on the roadside, the police said.

“Around 100 people were standing there as mute spectators. No one came to rescue me. They made videos and watched me being thrashed and assaulted. But no one came to help. They also tried to instigate the students who were returning from school to chant “Jai Shree Ram” and beat me up. This went on for around 45 minutes,” he alleged.

He told the Indian Express that the men punched him, kicked him and spat on him for nearly half an hour. “Luckily, the rope broke. I ran to save my life and tried to hide but they caught me. I went to a house to get help but nobody helped me. Somehow, I managed to get inside a car and hid there,” he told the newspaper.

After 1 pm, he went home and called friends, who came to pick him up on a bike, the report said.

According to Scroll, the incident occurred between 10.50 am and 12.30 pm.

Tet told Scroll, “They were hitting my head constantly, and also attacking my chest and stomach… They hit me so much on the head that I was bleeding from my nose and mouth.”

Tet alleged that he somehow managed to escape after the ropes on his hands loosened.

“I kept asking them if I had done anything wrong and begged them to tell me the reason but they continued to physically assault me. I got so scared. I tried to escape but they again pulled me by my collar and started punching me. I somehow managed to escape and tried to take shelter in one or two places but again I got no help,” he told PTI over phone.

Tet managed to reach home and informed his wife, who is presently at their native place in Jharkhand’s Ranchi.

“My wife became afraid after hearing about the incident. She is also away and is expecting so cannot come here before her delivery. All I want is that the culprits should be caught and punished. I and my family should feel safe here in Delhi where we have been living for the last 18 years now and I need that assurance about the safety aspect,” he stressed.

(With inputs from PTI)



Over 300 Instances of Violence Against Christians Were Reported in Nine Months of 2021: Report

Human rights groups which monitor atrocities against Christians in India have documented the violence by Hindutva groups from all states and released a fact-finding report on Thursday.

The fact-finding report on violence against Christians was released in Delhi on October 21, Thursday, by the Association of Protection Civil Rights, United Christian Forum and United against Hate at a press conference. Photo: author provided

Sumedha Pal


New Delhi: On October 3, more than 200 unidentified men and women, allegedly belonging to local right-wing groups, vandalised a church in Roorkee, Uttarakhand, and attacked several people, including women, assembled there for prayers on a Sunday. No action has been taken in the case yet, despite assurances.

The spate of such incidents of hate crimes, mob violence against Christians only seems to be increasingly compounded by rallies and slogans against the community based on triggering fears and anxieties over ‘religious conversions’.

Human rights groups which monitor atrocities against Christians in India have documented the violence by Hindutva groups from all states and released a fact-finding report titled ‘Christians under attack in India’. The report highlights that over 300 such instances have been reported from across 21 states, particularly North India, in nine months of this year.

The report was released in Delhi on October 21, Thursday, by the Association of Protection Civil Rights, United Christian Forum and United against Hate at a press conference.

Also read: Changing Faith: Why Are Political Conversions Legal but Religious Ones Suspect?

Speaking at the press conference, A.C. Michael, the former member of Delhi Minorities Commission and National Coordinator of United Christian Forum (UCF), said, “The fears which are being fuelled of Christians converting Hindus is baseless. The brutal attacks have taken place across 21 states. Most of the incidents are taking place in the northern states and 288 instances were of mob violence. This is a scary situation, raising critical questions over the role and the position of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the home ministry and their failures in stopping this violence.”

He added, “Over 49 FIRs have been registered too, but no substantial action has taken place.”

According to media reports, there have been several attacks on churches, especially in Uttar Pradesh, and hate speech against Christians in other parts of India, especially in Chhattisgarh and Karnataka.

Sharing her testimony of the attack on the church in Roorkee, Eva Lance stated, “More than 200 people chanting slogans entered our church, we were [also] threatened for a week before [the incident] but no action was taken. On Sunday, the CCTV cameras were broken and communal slurs were hurled at us. Women present in the church were dragged by their hair and punched in the chest.”

She added, “Despite this grave violation of our rights, counter FIRs were registered against us with charges as serious as murder, molestation and even dacoity but no action has taken place on our complaint. Since that incident we have been living in complete fear with polarisation gripping our localities.”

Rajat Kumar, the helper at the church, was attacked by the mob with iron rods. He sustained serious injuries after being allegedly hit with iron rods multiple times on his head. “They dragged me by my neck to the ground floor while raining blows on my face and back. I became unconscious after I was hit with a rod on my head,” his testimony read.

Also read: India 10th Most Dangerous Country To Live In for Christians: Report

Other instances of mob violence

Earlier this week, members of the right-wing Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad entered a church in Karnataka’s Hubballi singing bhajans, as a show of protest, alleging forced religious conversions. A video of the incident showed dozens of women and men sitting inside the Bairidevarkoppa Church in Hubli around 11 am singing bhajans with folded hands over their heads. Later, the local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Arvind Bellad blocked a highway demanding the arrest of pastor Somu Avaradhi.

On October 10, the Uttar Pradesh Police in Mau district took several people into custody after receiving complaints from members of a right-wing Hindutva group that they were allegedly involved in converting people into Christianity. The Hindutva group then forced the Christian worshipers, including the priest, to the police station as the Hindutva mob was accusing the group of ‘converting’ people.

The fact-finding report highlighted that a vast majority of such attacks have taken place against Christians belonging to the Dalit and the tribal communities.

Instances of violence against Christians in Chhattisgarh are also on the rise. On August 29, a group of more than 100 people allegedly beat up a 25-year-old pastor after barging into his house at a remote village in Chhattisgarh’s Kabirdham district.

The Guardian reported that the series of attacks in Chhattisgarh have been ongoing since the beginning of the year. “In some villages, Christian churches have been vandalised, in others pastors have been beaten or abused. Congregations have been broken up by mobs and believers hospitalised with injuries. The police, too, stand accused – of making threats to Christians, hauling them into police stations and carrying out raids on Sunday prayer services.”

The attacks are rooted in the claim of the Hindu nationalist groups that Christians are fuelling conversions of Hindus by luring people by means of cash payments, foreign trips and medical assistance.