Church, prayer hall, prayer conducted at a house etc and the attack of such places: Secularism and communalism behind! (1)

Church, prayer hall, prayer conducted at a house etc and the attack of such places: Secularism and communalism behind! (1)

Madurai church attack - Miscreants vandalize church

Pentecostal Church attacked in Madurai 11-03-2018: The incident happened around 9.30 am when priest Ravi Jacob was taking part in a prayer session. “A gang of 50 men led by a religious outfit leader”, protected by a gunman, entered the church and started attacking M. Ravi Jacob[1]. A prayer home of a Pentecostal church in Sikkandar Chavadi here was vandalized and copies of the Bible were burnt, allegedly by members of a “Hindu right wing group”on Sunday 11-03-2018[2]. Another report says, “Some members, reportedly of the same group”, later went to three other prayer homes belonging to Pentecostal church in nearby areas and verbally abused the pastors and worshippers and threatened to attack the homes if they were not shut in a week[3]. Jacob, the pastor at the Sikkandar Chavadi prayer home, which is a branch of Rhema Church, said more than 10 people, including a person who had an armed policeman as his Personal Security Officer (PSO), came to the prayer home in the morning[4]. “I, my wife, two children and a few others who had come for the prayer were there. The men used abusive language and roughed up me and my wife,” he said. He alleged that they later took out copies of the Bible present at the home, along with his mobile phone and a few other belongings, and burnt them in the street[5].

Madurai church attack - Right wing vandalize -The Hindu

Christians accused “Hindu Munnani” for attack: Corroborating his allegations, the family who owned the place, which is a small tile-roofed structure in a narrow lane, said the pastor had rented the place a couple of months ago and visited it on Sundays for prayer meetings. Jerome Jegatheesan, pastor of ‘Bethesda Varthaiyin Jeba Veedu’ prayer home in Koodal Pudur, said a group of people visited the home a couple of hours after the incident at Sikkandar Chavadi. “They abused us in filthy language and asked us to stop our activities,” he said. Sasi Sugathiya, a pastor with Living God Church, said two other prayer homes in Koodal Puthur area were also threatened on Sunday. The video of the group threatening one of the prayer homes was uploaded on Facebook by a person claiming to be a Hindu Munnani member. However, there is Christian  material and burning them, but, there was no commotion, as everything was going on the road and the event was evidently recorded ny many [6]. It is appears strange, as the attacker himself to present evidence to the public to prove that he attacked or involved in such act. This is similar to earlier NDTV propaganda about the Gujarat riots where, the Hindutwa group heads were depicted as “claiming themselves with pride that they indulged in such violence.”

Police version of the attack: N. Manivannan, Madurai Superintendent of Police, said a case had been registered based on Ravi Jacob’s complaint against 10 unidentified Hindu Munnani cadre. He, said, “We have identified three persons involved in the incident. However, we are yet to arrest any of them.” On the presence of a PSO, he said the police were yet to confirm that. “If a PSO was present, it will make the identification of the accused easy,” he added. Stressing that there were no attacks on the other three prayer homes, Madurai City Commissioner of Police Mahesh Kumar Aggarwal said the group appeared to have threatened the pastors to close the homes by claiming that they did not have permission. “We have registered cases and appropriate action will be taken swiftly,” he said.  However, it can be noted that politicians like Vaiko accused police that they have registered a case against the “unidentified” persons. Therefore, it is evident that the issue of “illegal churches” has been converted into “secular” and “communal” one.

Madurai church attack - Notices to illegal prayer halls- TOI

30 prayer halls in Tamil Nadu receive notice, HC stays closure of one (October 2017)[7]: District authorities have issued show-cause notice to about 30 Christian prayer halls in Coimbatore district alone, threatening to close them down for conducting prayers without prior permission. But, the Madras high court came to the rescue of one such hall, when it stayed a notice issued by a jurisdictional tahsildar to a Sulur-based prayer hall. Concurring with the submissions of P Wilson, senior counsel for the prayer hall, Justice K Ravichandrabaabu said: “The court is of the prima facie view that the petitioner is entitled to an interim relief of stay for a period of four weeks subject to the condition that under the guise of conducting prayers the petitioner shall not cause any nuisance by way to the public.” The judge then ordered notice to the tahsildar concerned and district collector returnable by four weeks. Though Selvasingh Samuel, 37, who is pastor of a prayer hall at Sultanpet in Sulur taluk in Coimbatore district, won the relief for his prayer hall, the pattern as per which the notices were slapped on similar prayer halls in the region is unmistakable. Some of the notices were identical and referred to complaints and apprehension of public order disturbances in the regions concerned. They also raised the bogey of prayer being conducted without prior permission from authorities[8].

Permission given for the construction of a residential house and not for any jamath/prayer hall/madrasa (November 2017): The activists said the complaint was a ploy so that some organisations could continue their “illegal conversions”. Police said they had received complaints from the public that some prayer homes were being running illegally and demanding that these be closed[9]. Incidentally, the Courts have delivered judgments in recent years about the construction of prayer halls, usage of house for conducting prayer etc. In one case, the judge said it has been categorically stated in the stop-work notice that the planning permission was obtained for the construction of a residential house and not for any jamath/prayer hall/madrasa[10]. When there was a specific plan accorded for construction of a residential house, the petitioners cannot deviate and hence the panchayat was right in issuing the stop-work notice and thereafter passing the impugned order of cancellation of planning approval. Proceeding with construction and claiming investment of huge amount on the same cannot be a ground to permit the construction of superstructure to stand there, the judge added[11]. Therefore, if anyone follows the secular rationale of the cases, it has to be applicable to all. However, the secular and Dravidian politicians have taken different stand of accusing the right wing group for the attack.

Complaints from the public that some prayer homes were being running illegally and demanding that these be closed (March 2018): Police said they had received complaints from the public that some prayer homes were being running illegally and demanding that these be closed[12]. This was not a law and order problem, but denial of right to worship and destruction of secularism, the Constitution and democracy, Council president Anthony Pappusamy said in a statement[13]. Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu Latin Bishops’ Council had condemned the attacks and said it was an effort to “chase away” Christians who had a fundamental right to worship. This was not a law and order problem, but denial of right to worship and destruction of secularism, the Constitution and democracy, Council president Anthony Pappusamy said in a statement[14]. A clip of the group reportedly threatening the persons has gone viral. A case was registered yesterday against 10 Hindu Munnani activists, of whom three have been identified. They said some of the activists, during initial questioning, denied that they had attacked the homes and had only staged protests against persons being allegedly lured for conversion. The activists said the complaint was a ploy so that some organisations could continue their “illegal conversions”. Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu Latin Bishops Council had condemned the attacks and said it was an effort to “chase away” Christians who had a fundamental right to worship.

© Vedaprakash

14-03-2018

[1] https://www.dtnext.in/News/TamilNadu/2018/03/12010044/1064765/Miscreants-vandalise-church-in-Madurai.vpf

[2] The Hindu, Hindu right wing group vandalises prayer home, Pon Vasanth B.A. MADURAI, MARCH 11, 2018 22:09 IST; UPDATED: MARCH 13, 2018 00:03 IST

[3] http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/hindu-right-wing-group-vandalises-prayer-home-madurai/article23041946.ece

[4] DNA India, Prayer homes of Pentecostal church attacked in Madurai, Published: Mar 14,2018, 01:30 AM

[5] http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-prayer-homes-of-pentecostal-church-attacked-in-madurai-2593779

[6] Angeline 11 Media works, , Published on Mar 12, 2018; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWgOblb8fuQ

[7] Times of India, 30 prayer halls in Tamil Nadu receive notice, HC stays closure of one, Suresh Kumar | TNN | Oct 24, 2017, 06:39 IST

[8] https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/30-prayer-halls-in-tamil-nadu-receive-notice-hc-stays-closure-of-one/articleshow/61193950.cms

[9] Deccan chronicle, Hindu right wing group attacks prayer homes of Madurai’s Pentecostal church, PTI, Published Mar 14, 2018, 1:19 pm IST; Updated Mar 14, 2018, 1:19 pm IST.

[10] DECCAN CHRONICLE, Demolish construction designed to offer namaz: Madras High Court, Published Nov 26, 2017, 1:45 am ISTUpdated Nov 26, 2017, 1:45 am IST

[11] https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/261117/demolish-construction-designed-to-offer-namaz-madras-high-court.html

[12] India today, Prayer homes of Pentecostal church attacked in Madurai, PTI, March 14, 2018UPDATED 12:15 IST (Eds: Recasting overnight story)

[13] https://www.indiatoday.in/pti-feed/story/prayer-homes-of-pentecostal-church-attacked-in-madurai-1189173-2018-03-14

[14] http://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/140318/madurai-pentecostal-church-attack-hindu-right-wing-group-bible-copies.html

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

One Response to “Church, prayer hall, prayer conducted at a house etc and the attack of such places: Secularism and communalism behind! (1)”

  1. vedaprakash Says:

    Minority commissioner talks to pastors
    TNN | Updated: Mar 16, 2018, 11:15 IST
    https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/madurai/minority-commissioner-talks-to-pastors/articleshow/63323846.cms

    MADURAI: In the wake of vandalisation of prayer halls in Madurai, state minority commissioner Bishop M Prakash visited the city and held a meeting with pastors before heading to meet Madurai district collector K Veera Raghava Rao.

    On Sunday, Hindu Munnani functionaries allegedly attacked a prayer hall at Sikkantharchavadi where they burnt bibles and threatened pastors at three more prayer halls.

    The video of the incident had gone viral on social networking sites and WhatsApp. A case has been registered by Madurai district police at Alanganallur police station in this regard and various political parties and human rights organisations condemned the attack.

    Under these circumstances, state minority commissioner Bishop M Prakash met the pastors at Prayer Tower, a church at Bypass Road and interacted with them. Talking to reporters later, the commissioner said that their main role was to protect the rights of minorities and they had received numerous petitions from Madurai after the attack on prayer halls. That was the reason why he had come down to hear their grievances.

    They also received petitions from other minorities. Based on his findings, he would suggest to the government to take action on the petitions, he said.

    Representatives of independent Christian churches have accompanied the commissioner when he met Madurai collector K Veera Raghava Rao and they urged the collector to take action against the functionaries who vandalised prayer halls. The minority commissioner later also met Madurai city police commissioner Mahesh Kumar Aggarwal and discussed the matter.

    Meanwhile, Koodalputhur police in Madurai city limits have filed three cases pertaining to vandalisation of prayer halls. Based on complaints filed by I Immanuvel from Anbu Nagar, S Stanilaus and M Jegatheesan from Anaiyur, police have registered case against 50 unknown persons.

    The members of churches accompanying minority commissioner said they will stage mass demonstration if the miscreants were not arrested. A demonstration has also been planned by various organizations in Madurai city in this regard.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: