Tension grips the Kadayam area of District Tenkasi following a police inspector’s threat to foist false cases against a senior citizen (nearly 70-year-old woman) who questioned why she must remove the Hindu Munnani flag flutter atop her house, according to a report by Organiser. In the nondescript village of Pulavanoor near Kadayam, hundreds of villagers, including women and children squatted on the road in front of a police force, registering their protest against the cops for foisting false cases against Hindus.
Earlier, a video that went viral showed an inspector Reghurajan from the Kadyam Police Station alighting from a vehicle and questioning the house’s residents about the flag seen hoisted on their boundary wall.
The residents reportedly told the policeman that they were silent about the activities of followers of other religions but wanted Hindus alone to remove their emblems. “We are ready. First, ask Christians to remove their encroachment. Don’t we have a right to put up a flag of our choice we like?” one of the women residents told the cop.
The policeman replied, “Do not talk of rules. If you do, I will book a false case against you. Remove the encroachment and the flag.” The video then shows the cop ask a man on the street to remove the flag, which he did.
When we talked to a Hindu Munnani office-bearer and advocate, Kutralanthan, he said, ‘It was a dispute that happened six months ago. It was a protest for the removal of illegal church construction. Now, because of the strong influence of Christians here, we have to fight against all. If the police had taken action on our complaint, things would not have come to this pass. The police bias is leading to communal clashes that can occur at any time if the situation prevails in the area.Complaint of a resident
Explaining the situation, one of the residents said, “A couple of years ago, autorickshaw driver Chelladurai built a house with a compound wall. Later, a church was built in that area. Its main entrance was to the left side of the compound wall of Chelladurai. When a revenue department official surveyed the area, he said the land was Chelladurai’s. Following this, Chelladurai built a structure with hollow blocks and installed an asbestos roof on top of it. Another church was built near the left end of his house. The church objected to the wall of his house, saying it was a hindrance to the church gate and asked for immediate removal of the ‘encroachment’.”
“Chelladurai started a signature campaign, claiming that the church had been built on government land and a water body. He complained to the police, seeking the removal of the illegal church on government land. But the police did not take any action.”
“Last month, a mob entered his house, destroyed his autorickshaw parked outside before razing the compound in question. The mob also broke the glass window panes and other belongings of Chelladurai. He soon complained to the police against the church pastor and said a gang of 15 people had damaged his vehicle, house, compound wall, besides threatening him with dire consequences.”
“The police, after filing an FIR, conducted a probe. So far eight people have been arrested in this connection who are on bail.”
Learning about the incident, Hindu Munnani leaders, including Jayakumar, visited Chelladurai’s house and gave him Rs.10,000 as cash assistance to repair his autorickshaw and the house’s compound wall.
“Christians with 30% population unitedly pulled his building down and destroyed the autorickshaw after the transformer went off. No case was booked against the Christians for this heinous crime. Regurajan is supporting them. Revenue officials said both sides encroached on the government land and action would be taken against both. We told them since they had admitted that the church was guilty of encroachment, they rather remove the encroachment first and said the Hindu Munnani would ask Chelladurai to remove his construction too. Now the revenue department has removed the encroachment,” Jayakumar said.
“The police inspector’s action is a case of blatant human rights violation. Christians used police as a tool while Chelladurai’s family agreed to remove the encroachment, if any. The inspector acted like a stooge of Christians, which is condemnable. We have taken up this with the district police superintendent,” he said.
Meanwhile, two days ago, the police came with a bulldozer to remove the remaining compound that the church claims was blocking the entry into the church. They asked Chelladurai to remove the Hindu Munnani flag on the wall.
Chelladurai came out with a cane of kerosene and threatened to commit suicide if they dared to demolish the wall. The cops took him to the police station.
The church administration said the police had tried to demolish the illegal wall built by the church measuring 6 by 70 feet but not the full encroachment that needed to be pulled down.
News spread soon that Chelladurai had been arrested and that false cases had been filed against him.
The police arrested a youth too who had gone to enquire what had happened to Chelladurai. The youth, who was working abroad, came home recently to perform the last rites of his father.
When Chelladurai’s compound was demolished, the village administrative officer was not around. After taking Chelladurai to the police, the cops razed the compound. When the officer joined office again, he complained against Chelladurai, saying he had prevented the officials from doing their job.
Chelladurai has been remanded to jail. What police told Hindu Munnani was that he had obstructed the VAO, a government servant, from performing his duty. Police booked Chelladurai under various IPC sections, including the use of obscene language, issuing threats and others.
The police arrested a few Christians too but released them soon on bail. Hindu Munnai alleges that the districts of Madurai, Ramnad, Thoothukudi, Dindigul, Coimbatore, Kanyakumari have seen rampant recruitment of Christians and Muslims in police ranks.
The Hindu Munnani cadre continued their sit-in protest on the road till the dawn after the demolition, ignoring the rain. They are insistent on getting ‘justice’. No human rights commission member has taken up their case. The judiciary has not taken suo motu cognisance of the matter either.
Police say if a government servant complains, they are duty-bound to take action. But, cops say, if it was from a private person, they would release them on a personal bond because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hindu Munnani is trying to get Chelladurai and others released on bail through legal channels. The persecuted Hindu man had joined the HM recently.
The situation in the district is heading towards communal strife. Hindu Munnani has asked its cadre to raise the organisation’s flag atop their houses.
Hindu Makkal Katchi founder Arjun Sampath has urged the Tamil Nadu Minority Commission to declare Hindus in District Kanyakumari as a minority following the pastor’s claim that Christians and Muslims comprised 62% of the local population. Sampath has submitted a memorandum before the commission, seeking protection to Hindus living in the district.