Monday, March 26, 2007

Pastors attacked and arrested in Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh

Kuddupur, Jaunpur

On Sunday March 25 2007, the Church service carried out by the ‘Prabhu Yeshu Seva Samiti’ was being observed from a distance by a group of four police men. As the service drew to a close, one of them, the sub-inspector came forward and asked to meet the Pastor. He was led to an inner room of the Church, and started to ask Pastor Rajendra Chauhan a few questions. The Church regularly drew a following of more than a 1000 people every Sunday for the past more than three years, and the 25th of March was attended similarly.

While the questioning was going on, a jeep drew up close to the Church compound, and the Inspector from the Police Station Line Bazaar stepped out. He came in shouting loudly and to take Rajendra Chauhan and any other pastor to the police station. Thereby, amidst protests, Rajendra Chauhan and another leader of the church, Subhash Patel were taken forcibly to the police station at Line Bazaar.

We have not been able to get in touch with Rajendra Chauhan or Subhash Patel since then. When we spoke with the Police Inspector Ram Ji Singh on the 26th afternoon, he mentioned that Pastor Rajendra and Subhash had been presented before the Magistrate and have been sent to jail. He said the duo have been charged with hurting religious sentiments under section 295 (A) of the IPC. Besides this, they have also been charged under sections 298 and 125 of the IPC. Mr. Ram Ji Singh appeared every bit biased even as he informed us as to how the Pastors have insulted Hindus and have injured Hindu pride.

Members of the congregation, who are women in majority, were brutally beaten up by gangs of men waiting on the only road that connects the Church in village Kuddupur to Jaunpur. One kilometer away from the village, the area known as Ram Dayal Market is the only approach road to catch public transport for members to reach back home. Traders of the market and fundamentalists beat everyone they could see with big wooden sticks and wooden benches taken out from their shops. Frantic calls made to the police station did get some response, but even after the police force came, they made no attempt to stop the melee. The violence stopped only when all the congregation members ran helter-skelter to save themselves.

There have been requests made to the police station earlier to provide protection to the ongoing meetings but so far these requests and FIR’s have fallen on deaf ears. The copies of the same will be available with the Pastors. This seems to be a well planned and organized attack against the Christian community. No Counter FIR’s from the Pastors have been entertained by the police who are busy beating and abusing the pastors every instance they get, eye witnesses have reported. Even now reports are coming of instances of violence against members of the Church by the fundamentalists. Pastor Rajendra’s mobile has been snatched away too.

Please call Thana Incharge Ram Singh at 09415904475 and also at 05452-261421. Please also call the SP at 05452-261203 / 261660 email: to register your concern and protest.