Twenty Christian priests and evangelists were beaten up and detained by the local police on Wednesday evening after they were found distributing religious literature on the streets of the state capital. The group from several parts of Andhra Pradesh was on a tour of the city for community service and religious meetings.
On Wednesday afternoon when the group was distributing religious literature at a crossing in Mansarovar area, right-wing supporters clashed with them. A police control room van dispersed the crowd but the group was followed to their paying guest accommodation. The local police was called in to resolve the issue and the visiting group was taken to the Mansarovar police station for interrogation. They were allegedly beaten up and sustained injuries on their hands and upper body.
Satish Babu, a priest from Hyderabad who was detained by the police, told the Indian Express, “We had come to propagate Christ’s message and did nothing to violate law and order here. But we were attacked by miscreants on the streets and then brutally beaten up by the police for no fault of ours.”
Station House Officer, Mansarovar police station, Hemendra Sharma said, “We have detained them on the basis of some inputs and will release them if nothing suspicious is found.”
Samuel Roberts, a local activist, said, “We are filing a first information report against two police constables who beat them up mercilessly despite any provocation. This is a clear violation of one’s freedom of speech.”