A violent attack on a pastor and his family was misrepresented by police, and followed a week of intimidation, it has been claimed.
The church leader from Uttar Pradesh, India, was attacked and injured at a prayer meeting along with his wife, brother and son, but their pleas to police were initially ignored, then their statement falsely amended, he said.
Pastor Rakesh Babu told human rights organisation Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) how the attackers beat him with logs and his wife was hit on the throat so hard she started bleeding. The armed men reportedly hit Pastor Babu on his knees, head and back repeatedly, and kept saying “Kill him, kill him”.
His young son pleaded with attackers to let him go, and the 51-year-old pastor fled to a friend’s house.
He then said on trying to report the incident to police he was initially ignored at two separate police stations. Eventually a senior policeman intervened, but when officers wrote the pastor’s statement, they amended the facts.
CSW Founder President Mervyn Thomas backed pastor Rakesh Babu’s version of the incident in his town of Chandauli, calling for his protection and the prosecution of those responsible.
He said: “We are deeply concerned for the safety of Pastor Babu and his family following this shocking attack, which was clearly pre-meditated and followed at least a week of intense harassment. The lack of concern from the police is deplorable, and the lack of arrests and prosecutions… is inexcusable.
“We urge the Indian government to ensure Pastor Babu and his family are provided with police protection and that measures are taken to protect the family from further attack, including the arrest and prosecution of those threatening them. An independent review into police conduct in this case is also essential.”