Bible Distributors Brutally Attacked in Mumbai , India
01 Dec 2005
The Global council of Indian Christians (GCIC) demands Government of India to protect Constitutional right of Christians to practice, preach and profess their faith in India. Three Bible distributors were brutally attacked
and case filed against them at the Panvel police station. The incident took place at 7 pm on Saturday 26 November. Three Malayalees- Biju Jacob, Reji Paul, and Shaji Samuel who are members of the Panvel Brethren Church were distributing Bible and Gospel tracts at a street behind the ST Bus Stand in Panvel from 5pm onwards. In the morning also they had distributed the same. At about 7 pm, a man came near their vehicle (Mahindra Bolero) from which they were giving the Bibles (for Rs. 5/- a copy), took a copy from the stack kept on the bonnet, flipped through the pages, and said: "There is no mention of 33 crores of gods we have", and gave a heavy blow on the face of Shaji. Meanwhile, Biju and Reji came out of the vehicle. Soon over 30 young people began to beat all the three. Shaji and Biju fell to the ground. Shaji was also booted. The beatings took place for over 15 minutes. Then the three were put in an auto-rikshaw and the attackers escorted them to the Panvel Police station where they were kept waiting for a few hours, and FIR made. Shaji`s thumb impression was taken, as he was unable to talk or breathe properly. After some time, seeing blood coming out of Shaji`s mouth, the inspector ordered them to be taken to the Panvel Municipal hospital. The municipal hospital after giving some first aid directed them to go to some private hospital.
As they were proceeding to a private hospital in Thane, they were called back by the police to the station. Biju returned to the station and was interrogated till 1.30 am. Shaji was admitted at Thane Lok hospital. Reji after fist aid treatment went home. On Sunday, a police constable met Biju in a hospital in Panvel and took signature on some statements.
Biju and Reji are engineers by profession. Shaji is an evangelist with the Brethren church.
"We have been distributing Bibles for several years. And this is the first time we were attacked in Panvel. No one is compelled to buy it. We are sorry that the attackers have misunderstood us as anti-nationals. As Indian citizens the constitution has given us rights to `profess, practice and propagate` our faith. We are doing it like any other religious groups. Though we were brutally attacked, we have no hatred toward any one. Neither we had made any complaint to the police. We forgive the attackers, like Christ who said on the cross: Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing," said Shaji from his hospital bed.
Shaji added that the documents of the vehicle including RC book are missing from the vehicle.