"No other state in India has as many structures for Satan as Tamil Nadu does. Why does Satan have such a stronghold in TN? No other state has as many temples and Satanic structures."
These are statements made by evangelist Mohan C Lazarus of the Thoothukudi based Jesus Redeems Ministries in a video that has now become viral on social media. These statements, allegedly part of a longer hate speech has resulted in three separate cases being filed against the preacher by the Coimbatore rural police on the basis of complaints by BJP and VHP leaders.
The cases have been filed in the Karumathampatti, Sulur and Pollachi police stations in Coimbatore district. The police are yet to find the exact date of the speech and are only aware that it has been doing the rounds on social media for the last week. But reports suggest that the video is from March 2016. They have booked the preacher under Sections 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion) and 295 A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code. A BJP leader filed the cases at Karumathampatti and Sulur while a VHP leader filed the case in Pollachi.
"In the last two days, these videos have been circulating on Whatsapp. In these videos, this Christian man says that temples and gods in Tamil Nadu are satans," says R Murugesan, the complainant from BJP. "He had spoken derogatorily about the Hindu religion. He has also insulted the Kanchi Sankara mutt and the spiritual leaders there. He has also spoken badly about our rituals. This has hurt Hindus. So, I have complained and an FIR has been filed," he adds.
The police at Karumathampatti tell TNM that an investigation in the matter will be carried out soon.
Mohan C Lazarus is a well-known evangelist in the state. He has several videos uploaded on Youtube and has reportedly appeared in TV shows as well.