A mob of local villagers allegedly beat up a pastor in Jharkhand’s Simdega district after accusing him of cow slaughter, and also assaulted six other who tried to intervene, according to the FIR.
The police formed an SIT and have nabbed five accused, Simdega SP Sams Tabrez said.
The FIR, lodged on the basis of a complaint by the victim, Pastor Raj Singh, stated that the incident took place early the morning of September 16 at their home in Simdega’s Bedigudar village, about 8 km from the district headquarters.
All seven, including the pastor, were subsequently garlanded with shoes and slippers and paraded in public, their heads partially tonsured, the FIR states. According to Singh’s complaint, they were attacked for not chanting “Jai Shri Ram” slogans.
All seven are tribal Christians.
SP Tabrez said an FIR was registered on the complaint by Singh’s wife Rozelin Kullu, invoking IPC Sections 341(wrongful restraint), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 354(b) (assault or use of criminal force on woman with intent to disrobe), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), among others, and under sections of SC/ST Act.
DIG Ranchi (Chota Nagpur Range) Akhilesh Jha said: “As per our investigation we were informed that a cattle was slaughtered. The police reached the spot and did not find anything…. On the basis of the complaint we registered a case against the mob and we have arrested five of them.” When asked, DIG Jha said the accused are all local villagers and “have no links with any organisation”.
However, he added, initial probe did not come across anyone forcing any person to chant Jai Shri Ram. But pastor Singh, who converted to Christianity in 2016, and wife Rozelin stuck to their complaint when The Sunday Express spoke with them.
When asked why medical test was not conducted, SP Tabrez said, “For conducting a medical test one has to have an injury. There was no injury.”
While Rozelin said that people from the mob called the police, and that the policemen who arrived allegedly applauded them for “getting hold of Raj Singh and others”, DIG Jha refused to comment on this.
The FIR identifies the accused as Nayan Kesri, Sonu Singh, Tulsi Sahu, Niranjan Sahu, Shrikant Prasad, Deepak Prasad, Rajender Mahato, Naku Patar, and Suman Patar.
The FIR quotes Rozelin saying, “The mob screamed and provoked others to beat us. People who came for help were also beaten up and later paraded after garlanding them with slippers and shoes…they were forced to chant Jai Shri Ram, and when they refused they were beaten up.”
She told The Sunday Express: “A mob of around 60 threatened me and asked me to leave the village. I have stayed here since childhood. How can I just leave?”
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