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Pastor in TN Beaten, Threatened to be Killed by Hindu Radicals
Saturday, July 7, 2018, 16:51 (IST)
A pastor in Tamil Nadu was brutally beaten and threatened to be killed by a mob of Hindu extremists who falsely accused him of running a brothel.
Pr Jayaseelan Natarajan jumped out of a moving car to save his life after the hard-line Hindu mob attacked him on June 20. The incident happened when he visited a church construction site in the Thozilpettai area, Karur District, the 50-year-old pastor told Morning Star News.
"We are facing lot of opposition from people who don't want a church in the area," he said.
Natarajan, who has been heading a house church in the Thozilpettai area for 28 years, had bought the land for the church building in 2012, but locals have blocked its completion.
"Since the past six years they are resisting the construction work," said Natarajan.
"They would dump garbage and animal waste on the church site. It was nasty, and always doubled the work as we had clear the mess and restart the work again," he added.
After many clashes, the church construction work was resumed.
On June 18, Natarajan's 27-year-old son, Samuel, went to water plants on the church premises when a liquor shop owner affiliated with the Hindu extremist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), identified only as Kumar, falsely accused him and his father for running a brothel at the church site.
Kumar threatened to kill the pastor and his son, said Natarajan.
Two days later, the group returned and secretly monitored the site. "Kumar saw us and blew whistles, and immediately a mob of 20 barged inside the compound," he said.
"We asked what was wrong and why they were entering the premises. They paid no heed, picked up flower pots and smashed them," he added.
The mob struck his son with wooden sticks. However, he was able to flee as the mob turned on his father.
Natarajan was beaten badly and forced into a car by Kumar and his colleague, an attorney identified only as Gobi.
"He [Gobi] ordered the driver to take us to a desolate place and said that I should be killed at that spot," said Natarajan.
"By God's grace, after traveling about a kilometer or so, there was a traffic circle and speed breakers on the road, and the driver slowed down the car. I quietly loosened the car's door to my side and jumped out quickly," he added.
When Gobi and the driver couldn't handle Natarajan anymore, they handed him over to a nearby police station and falsely accused him of running a brothel in the Thozilpettai area.
However, with the help of a friend, Natarajan was first rushed to a government hospital for medical care, as his hand was broken.
The following day an officer identified as Vel Murugan from the Pasupathipalayam police station came to record his statement, but the officer refused to record how Gobi had forced him into the car and threatened to kill him, he said.
"He simply wrote a short note that Kumar and a mob of 15-20 miscreants have attacked," said Natarajan.
"When I inquired why he did not want to take my complaint against Gobi, he threatened me that there will be a counter-complaint against me if he took down Gobi's name," he added.
Police refused to book Gobi as he has political connections.
"It has been a week, and no action has been taken against the attackers, Kumar and his gang," attorney Ranjendran Ramasamy told MSN.
"Police refused to register an FIR [First Information Report] based on Pastor Natarajan's complaint. This shows how politically powerful the attackers are, that even police can't name them in an FIR," he added.