28th March 2005: Suresh Routh and John Das Shinde were praying in Katangi, Balaghat in Madhya Pradesh with some local Christians. Little did they know that their prayer meeting was going to be disrupted very soon.
The village Sarpanch, who is also the son of the local BJP MLA, came storming in the house with a mob, where the meeting was going on and started to beat the two Evangelists whose only fault was preaching about the teachings of Jesus Christ to fellow Christians in Katangi.
They were beaten mercilessly, so much that their bodies continue to bear the marks of the beatings even today. When the local Christians objected, they too were beaten up and threatened. The beatings were not enough for the Sarpanch. He took the two and locked them up in a house till morning all the while threatening them of dire consequences.
In the morning he took them both to the Katangi police station and filed a false report against them under IPC 153 C. With great difficulties the local Christians managed to secure a bail for them. The police’s conduct in the case was one sided and was clearly biased.
The two were sent to Nagpur a few days after they got bail where they had to go through trauma counseling by Christian leaders. It was only after much prayer and encouragement that they could muster the courage to return to Katangi again. Fear had so much overtaken them that they decided not to file any complaint against the Sarpanch or against the inaction of the police. Once again the victim has been made the accused as the case against them goes on.