Five drunk ABVP members allegedly attacked a Dalit pastor and his family for converting to Christianity and bringing disrepute to Hindu religion.
The incident occurred in Karimnagar district of Telangana.
Though the incident took place on February 26, the issue was brought to light by Bahujana Prathighatana Vedika (BPV), a Dalit-Bahujan rights organisation, only recently.
The ABVP members who partook in a protest meeting against the chief minister picked a fight with a pastor by abusing him, and assaulted his entire family when they tried to intervene and stop the attack, police said.
The victims of the attack are: K Moses, K Narsamma, K Prabhakar, K Emmanuel and K Maria.
While police claim that it was a drunken brawl, one of the victims alleges that it was a pre-determined attack.
According to the victims, the family was praying at the church as usual, when five drunk people came to drink water at the bore pump near the church and abused Moses, whose name was written on the banner.
“They were visibly drunk and while drinking water at the pump, they saw the banner about the church erected nearby. They then started shouting and abusing my father, whose name was mentioned on the banner. Then my father asked them why they were creating a ruckus, after which they called him a Madiga (Scheduled Caste) bastard. They insulted us saying that we brought shame to Hindu religion by converting,” recalled K Prabhakar, elder son of the pastor.
“They then started attacking him. When I went to stop them, they attacked me too. My sister and mother got scared and fearing that we would get injured seriously, they attempted to intervene. Those goons not only assaulted my mother and sister when they were trying to stop them, but also made obscene remarks against them,” he told TNM.
Prabhakar added, “This is definitely a motivated attack. How will they know that we were Madigas? They deliberately picked up a fight, while we were making all efforts to avoid it, knowing that they were drunk. But yet they kept provoking us.”
In the attack, Prabhakar’s younger brother, K Emmanuel suffered a broken leg and is currently being treated.
Police have filed a case against all the five accused—K Sai, C Satya Shiva, K Karthik, K Sai Sunith and K Naresh, under the SC/ST Atrocities Act.
The accused are residents of the nearby Ramadugu village, informed police.
A police officer said that as soon as the accused were taken into custody, nearly 200 members of ABVP and BJP thronged to the police station and filed a counter complaint against the victims.
“They filed a counter petition claiming that the pastor spoke ill about the Lord Hanuman sticker on the bike, hence the fight ensued.”
Ramadugu SI Naresh Reddy said that they were reviewing the petition.
Vehemently refuting the allegations, Prabhakar said, “We don’t even know who those people are. We were in the church, we came out only when they started abusing my father.”
Condemning the incident, activist and convener of BPV, Sujatha Surepally said that the police should take proper action against the attackers, and view the victims as Dalits. "Though they have converted to a different faith, they still remain Dalits, and they have been abused with caste slurs, so it should be seen as an attack on Dalit christians," she said.