Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Pastor beaten mercilessly in Raipur, Chhattisgarh

December 17' 2006

Pastor Philip Jagdalla resides and works in Bilaspur (CG). Bur for last one month he was working with Jehova Pentecostal Church, Mova, Raipur (CG), for assisting the local pastor, Jebastin. His wife is in Bilaspur with 2 weeks baby girl. Jehova Pentecostal Church has been conducting regular Sunday worship in a rented house of a Christian family in Dubey Colony of Mova area, Raipur since last one and a half years.

Two Christian children, who are relatives of Pastor Philip Jagdalla regularly attends Sunday school run by this church. Six children from non-Christian background also started attending Sunday school with these two Christian children, with the consent of their families, since last two weeks. After closing Sunday school at 10:30 AM, Pastor Philip Jagdalla went with these eight children to drop them to their houses in an auto. All of them reside in the same place in Pandari, about 3 kilometers from the place of Sunday school and worship. After dropping the children to their houses, the moment he reached Mandi Gate, Pandri, to take an auto to go back to he worship place, not far from the houses of these children, about 20 youths belonging to Dharm Sena led by Keshore (Mahendra) Kothari started beating the pastor mercilessly accusing him of conversion. Kishore Kothari is the president of Raipur unit of Dharm Sena, an extremist outfit affiliated with RSS. Dharm Sena has been primarily responsible for atrocities against the Christians in and around Raipur for more than a year.

They produced the pastor to Mova police station while beating him along the way. Pastor Jebastin came to know about the incident at 11:00 AM through some residents of the colony, while he was conducting regular Sunday worship. He immediately contacted Chhattisgarh Christian Forum. About 40 pastors and leaders of the Christian community immediately reached the police station to express their solidarity and concern. Dharm Sena people in more number also reached the police station and started abusing and threatening the Christians and forced them to go from the police station. By this time Pastor Philip Jagdalla had already been taken to the hospital for medical checkup by the police. When Pastor Philip Jagdalla was taken back to the police station, about ten pastors and leaders of the Chhattisgarh Christian Forum also reached the police station to stand with this humble, innocent pastor. Chhattisgarh Christian Forum insisted for fair conduct by the police. The police registered an FIR against Kishore (Mahendra) Kothari and his aids under IPC Sections 506, 323, 341 and 294. Dharm Sena people again started abusing and severely threatening the Christians, in spite of huge police presence and forced the Christians to leave the police station.

Later Pastor Jagdalla was released from the police custody at about 8 PM. Two leaders of the Forum went to the police station to bring back the pastor safely.

As per reports of local news papers an FIR has been registered against Pastor Jagdalla under IPC Section 295A and Section 4 (Freedom of Religion Act of Chhattisgarh). This is because of a false complaint of conversion by force and allurement against Pastor Jagdalla, presented to the police, maneuvered by the Dharm Sena.

Mr Arun Pannalal, General Secretary of Chhattisgarh Christian Forum has demanded an immediate action against the accused ones otherwise Forum would go for statewide protest.

Pastor Jagdalla has incurred injuries on many parts of the body , and it is suspected that his his left hand or shoulder has got fractured. Please uphold Pastor Philip Jagdalla & family along with pastor and other believers of the church.

Reported by,
A. Edgar
19 December, 2006