Friday, September 30, 2005

Christians beaten up in Police Lockup in Maloud, Punjab

Maloud, District Mukhtsar, Punjab,
According to reports received around 40 - 50 Christians were praying in a Christian home on the 25th September 2005. The meeting was a late evening meeting and started at about 9:00 pm.

At about 10:30 when the meeting was almost over, members of the Bajrang Dal accompanied by a mob stormed the venue. The mob led by Lekhraj Batla, president of the Bajrang Dal, Maloud, abused and threatened Christians and even beat some of them.

The Christians quickly called the police for their protection but as soon as the police reached the spot it was evident they were already inclined to the cause of the Bajrang Dal.

4 Christians Gurdev Singh, Balkaran Singh, Jaswant Singh and Amar Singh who is a pastor were taken into custody. The police said that they had been taken into custody for their own safety as the mob was very violent. They were then taken to the police station for investigation.

On reaching the police station however the Christians found themselves behind the bars. Hukum Chand Sharma, the Assistant Sub Inspector of the Maloud Police station, was drunk and started beating the Christians mercilessly. In the course of the beating, Gurdev Singh and Amar Singh received grave injuries.

Not satisfied with this Hukum Chand Sharma sent police force to arrest Pastor Swarnjit Singh of Maloud who was also present in the prayer meeting. Pastor Swaranjit Singh had just left his home to visit a few believers to pray for the people in jail and hence was unavailable. The police then arrested Pastor Sukhdev Singh, a guest at the house of Pastor Swaranjit. Sukhdev Singh had attended the meeting too.

They took Pastor Sukhdev and Hukum Chand Sharma beat him as well in the lockup. Pastor Sukhdev is aged nearing sixty years and he sustained grievous wounds.

Pastor Swaranjit told us, "The police was hand in glove with the Bajrang Dal even before they attacked our meeting. They only pretended taking Christians to the police station for investigation. The real motive was beating them up."

"Hukum Chand Sharma was fully drunk and he would hit the Christians again and again, saying to them the entire time, 'Call you Jesus now and let me see how he saves you from the wrath of Hukum Chand Sharma." Pastor Swaranjit reported.

The Christians were kept in custody till next evening i.e. the 26th September 2005 and then let off. According to the Indian law a person cannot be detained in police custody for more than 24 hours and has a right to know the offence alleged to have been committed by him. ASI Sharma took advantage of this and beat them up to his heart’s content and released them before 24 hours.

"The pastors and the three others were in a bad shape when the police let them off next evening. They were not even treated for the wounds that they had received and so we had to admit them in the hospital straight away." Pastor Swaranjit said.

Two persons Gurdev Singh and the elderly Sukhdev Singh continue to be in the hospital with serious injuries. Till three days after the incident, the police had not taken them for a medical check up. It was only at the third day that an X- ray for both was taken. At the time of writing this report the results of the X- ray are still awaited.

When Christian leaders of Maloud reported this to the SSP (Senior Superintendent of Police), he at first did not pay any heed to the matter. But after being confronted by the facts given by the Christian delegation, he asked for 2 days for an investigation to be conducted in the matter. The report of the investigation is still awaited.