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PUCL, 13 July 2006

Christian inmate assaulted by Bajrang Dal activists in Manglore jail

-- Fact finding report by P.B. D'Sa and Alwyn Colaco, PUCL Manglore,
11 July, 2006.

It was reported to the PUCL office on6th July by the 2 sons of Mr Rajan Chithravelu, a man in judicial custody, that he was badly tortured by 8 persons (whom he can identify) inside the jail , where he was lodged, in the night of 4th July 2006 .

We visited the jail and met the jailer, Suresh, who denied that his guards were involved in the torture but accused the Bajrang Dal elements within the jail inmates of assaulting Rajan. He expressed his helplessness and said, "we are hardly 5 or 6 persons against a large number of criminals and antisocial elements."

There are Bajrang Dal activists inside and out side the jail so the guardscannot even protect themselves. This is a problem, which should be answered by the judge and the government.

The torture as reported by Rajan's son included assault with fists, rollers on the thigh and legs, lathi charge under the feet and blows all over the body. He was stripped naked before the torture, his entire body including face was swollen, his body had black and blue marks all over and he had a black eye when his sons visited him on the 6th of July..

We hold responsible the prison authorities and the government for this state of affairs. While the assault continued, he was continuously abused and ragged about his religion and conversion.

Though the victim revealed this fact to the jailer and guard next morning, 5 July ( no jailer or guard met him during the night). Jailer has not taken any steps to file any FIR at Barke Police Station. He did not allowed the victim to talk to the doctor who was treating him and the doctor did not asked him how he got so many injuries on his body and how he got the swollen face.

Doctors, jailors, police and lawyers seem to have conspired to protect the assailants who seem to be Bajrang Dal fanatics who threatened the victims stating you are converting Hindus to Christianity, we will eliminate you ."You come out we will see you when there are so many Hindu Gods here in India you are bringing In a foreign God ." These were words used by the assaulters.

Though Mr Rajan has voluntarily told the doctor that he was beaten up and criminally assaulted and that his entire body is aching and swollen nothing has appeared in the report and neither the case is booked under medico-legal case.

Though Mr Rajan agreed to identify the assaulters, Suresh, the jailer has not taken any steps to get the names of the assailants from Rajan. The Superintendent of Prisons was not available for his comments.

Jailers and doctors have instead of admitting him to the hospital for serious injuries on the body have taken an ECG to mislead the people , when his entire body was proof of the assault done on him.

Even the lawyer failed to tell the prison authorities to hospitalize him nor reported to the doctor about the assault so that a medico-legal case could be registered.

Dissatisfied with the performance of the lawyer the party demanded an NOC for Adv.Arun Bangera who refused stating it his prestige matter .If at all they insist he said that they will have to pay him Rs. 20,000/- as compensation.

In fact Adv Sharadh Shetty, lawyer at Moodbidri and Adv Arun Bangera from Mangalore have collected Rs.35,000 as fees (including Rs.12,000 to Moodbidri police as bribe not to assault Mr Rajan).

Further investigations by the team which visited Moodbidri ,Guruvayankere and Chickamaglur reveled very interesting facts which prove that the version by the police under influence of Bajarang Dal is false and concocted one .

Advantage of the situation was taken by Hindu fanatics to teach a lesson to Mr Rajan Chitravelu who had converted to Christianity nearly 30 years.

The investigation team included M/s. P.B. DSa President of PUCL, Maxwell Kumar Vice-President of PUCL, Mr. Alwyn Colaco member PUCL and Mr Walter Maben.

People's Union for Civil Liberties, 81 Sahayoga Apartmrnts, Mayur Vihar I, Delhi 110091, India. Phone (91) 11 2275 0014