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Christian pastor ‘thrashed’, ‘forced’ to chant Jai Shri Ram, Delhi Police file FIR after 4 days

Mob allegedly attacked pastor Kelom Kalyan Tet in South Delhi’s Fatehpur Beri on 25 February, claiming he was carrying out forced religious conversions. Complaint filed on 27 February.

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New Delhi: The Delhi Police Thursday lodged an FIR in the case of an alleged assault on a Christian pastor on 25 February. The pastor was allegedly tied up, beaten and forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ by a mob in South Delhi’s Fatehpur Beri, over suspicion that he was indulging in forced religious conversions.

The move came four days after the pastor, Kelom Kalyan Tet, filed a complaint with the local police. 

Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) M. Harsha Vardhan confirmed to ThePrint that the FIR has been registered in the case under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 365 (kidnapping), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (wrongful restraint), and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention).

“FIR has been lodged, further investigation underway,” Vardhan said.

In his complaint filed at Maidan Garhi police station on 27 February, a copy of which is with ThePrint, the 35-year-old said that he had gone to Bhati Mines to meet a friend early in the morning. As he was leaving his friend’s house at around 11 am, on his bike, two-three people came up to him and forced him to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’.

“They asked me whom I had come to meet there. I told them that I came to meet a friend of mine. In the meantime, one person from Fatehpur Beri reached the spot whom they had called. The four men accused me of forceful religious conversion after discussing among themselves,” he said in this complaint. 

“They started hitting me and took my phone, the bag which had my Bible, bike papers and other important papers. They took photos and videos of the entire incident,” the pastor alleged.


Also read: Amit Shah prays that no religious conversion takes place under NDA-led govt in Punjab


‘Kicked & slapped’

Soon after, a crowd allegedly gathered. Some women asked the men to stop torturing the pastor and take him to the police station instead. However, the men forced him into a car and took him to the Fatehpur Beri chowk, where they tied his hands to a divider with ropes, and began to instigate the crowd.

“They kicked, slapped and beat me up. Some of the mob tore my clothes. I could no longer hear anything with my ears. They hit my head continuously and kicked my stomach and chest. I was bleeding from my nose and mouth,” Tet alleged in the complaint. 

“At that time, a nearby school’s classes got over and when the children got out, the men instigated them to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and hit me,” he claimed.

Speaking to ThePrint after the FIR was filed, Tet said he managed to escape as the crowd grew bigger — 100-150 people had assembled — and the ropes used to tie him became loose. “I somehow escaped from the area, hid under a car and then came home in a bus,” he said. 

Asked why he waited for two days to lodge a complaint, the pastor said: “I was in shock and pain. No one helped me, I tried calling 100 from an acquaintance’s phone but there was no response. After discussions and support from fellow pastors, I gained the courage to lodge a police complaint on 27 February.”

The 35-year-old said that there are injuries to his eyes, head, legs and shoulders, and complained of pain. “They also choked me and were discussing getting sticks to further thrash me. I even chanted ‘Jai Shri Ram’ twice in hope that they let go of me,” he told ThePrint.

Prayer meets, converted families

A native of Jharkhand, Tet has been living in Asola village, Fatehpur Beri for the past 18 years. 

According to him, on the day of the incident, he was supposed to go to an acquaintance’s house in Bhati Mines to offer a house prayer after meeting his friend.

“People often call us for prayers. This family were originally Hindus, but had later converted to Christianity. They have been coming to our house church located in Asola for the last two years. I don’t exactly know when they converted,” the pastor said.

(Edited by Amit Upadhyaya)


Also read: The politics behind Karnataka’s hijab row: Sliding Congress, rising SDPI, combative BJP


 

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