Police hostility toward Christians in India continued this year as officers in Tamil Nadu reviled two Christians for their faith and seriously injured them, sources said.
The two Christians, A. Rethinakumar and C. Nova of Jesus Redeems Ministry, were traveling by motorcycle in Thomas Nagar on Nov. 3 at about 2:30 a.m. when two policemen stopped them and began verbally abusing them, according to attorney T. Hubertson, who submitted a petition to the National Human Rights Commission about the assault.
He identified the officers as Special Sub-Inspector Ravi Chandran of the Asaripallam police station and Raj Kumar of the Tamil Nadu Special Police Youth Brigade.
"The two policemen were heavily drunk and calling the Christians 'sons of prostitutes,'" Hubertson told Morning Star News. "They told the Christians to remove their helmets and started punching them in the face."
Slapping, punching and verbally abusing the Christians, Chandran asked the Christians where they were going. When they replied that they had done some work for an upcoming Christian program and were on their way to see their ministry leader, the beating continued as Chandran uttered derogatory remarks against Christ and asked, "What has Jesus done for you, sons of prostitutes? Why are you running to Him?" Hubertson said.
Kumar, slapping and kicking Rethinakumar and repeatedly kicking and punching him the length of his spine to his neck, called the Christians "sons of prostitutes" and threatened to kill them, said S. Jeyakumar, area leader of Jesus Redeems Ministry.
The two policemen then forced the Christians to call Jeyakumar, and Kumar informed him that they were taking Rethinakumar and Nova to the police station.
After reaching the Asaripallam Police Station, Chandran and Kumar forced the Christians to sit on the floor and continued to assault them, sources said.
When Jeyakumar arrived at the Asaripallam police station, the officers refused to listen to him and continued assaulting the two Christians and disparaging Christ, the ministry leader said. The officers asked the two Christians if Jesus Redeems Ministry founder Mohan C. Lazarus offered them money to become Christians, and if "he is the one brainwashing you," one source said.
Chandran then falsely accused the Christians of theft.
"He threatened to file false charges against the Christians and remand them to jail if they said anything about what they had done to them," the source said.
Nova gave the officers copies of the motorcycle registration, driver's license and vehicle insurance, but the policemen threw the documents to the floor and filed a false case against them of failure to wear helmets and lacking registration, insurance, license and brake light, Jeyakumar said.
The policemen seized their motorcycle and, after obtaining signatures from them on a blank paper, drove them from the police station at about 4 a.m., continuing to beat them and threatening to kill them, the sources said.
Rethinakumar suffered fractures in his spine. He first received treatment at Kanyakumari Government Medical Hospital, and later he was admitted to Peace Health Centre Hospital in Tirunelveli, Jeyakumar said.
Nova suffered a broken nose and a serious mouth injury, Hubertson said.
"His face was swollen, and he was not able to talk or eat properly for many days," he said. "He was discharged from the hospital after a medical treatment of 25 days."
The National Human Rights Commission on Nov. 22 registered a case against Chandran and Kumar for assault.
Police officials, however, have not taken any action against the assailants, sources said.
"The local police are not responding to any of our complaints, and no police actions have been taken against the attackers, but we are submitting a memorandum to the higher officials including the chief minister of the state," Hubertson said.
Chandran and Kumar were not available for comment.