"Asked seniors to take action, instead they thrashed me."Madvi Joga, a cop in Sukma district
In the Maoist-infested Sukma district of Chhattisgarh, a cop was thrashed by another senior cop after he allegedly asked his senior to take action in an alleged case of attack against Christian tribal people.
The video of the assault which purportedly took place in Gollaplly police station on Sunday, 23 October 2022, went viral on Tuesday, 25 October.
The viral video shows a cop in civil dress, later identified as Mangluram Dugga, abusing, slapping, and thrashing another cop identified as Madvi Joga with slippers multiple times.
"I was there when a few locals had come to register their complaint alleging attack based on their religious identity. The senior tried to shoo away the matter and I asked him to take action, then he got enraged and started beating me. My only crime was my request to take due action."Madvi Joga
Why Was a Cop Beaten Up by Another Cop?
Sources said that the issue dates back to Friday, 21 October, when some Christian tribal people of Gollapally village were allegedly thrashed by non-Christian locals asking them to renounce their religion.
On Friday, 21 October, a group of Christian men and women were allegedly attacked by non-Christian villagers in Gollapally village of Sukma district in Chhattisgarh.
(Photo: Sourced by The Quint)
A mob of around 30 men allegedly entered into the makeshift church and thrashed the people present inside, asking them to renounce their faith.
(Photo: Sourced by The Quint)
Markam Anand, also known as Markam Pintu after converting to Christianity, was one of the people who were thrashed. Pintu told The Quint that he along with some other Christian villagers had gathered at the makeshift-church for prayers when non-Christian villagers forcibly entered the church and beat them up.
"We were just praying when other villagers came and asked us to remove our church and stop following these customs. They asked if we had taken permission to build the church to which we said that it was built on a personal land and not on the common land but nobody listened. They started beating us up and asked us to renounce our religion."Markam Anand AKA Markam Pintu
Following this, the locals on two consecutive days – Saturday, 22 October and Sunday, 23 October – attempted to lodge a complaint but were reportedly ridiculed and harassed by the policemen.
While they were still present at the Gollapally police station on 23 October, Madvi Joga intervened and asked officials to take action into the matter when the scuffle broke out and he was thrashed.
Talking to The Quint, Joga further alleged that he was thrashed in the presence of his senior officials only because he spoke on behalf of the aggrieved people who were being hassled constantly by the senior officials.
Police Cites Insubordination, Launches Probe
Talking to The Quint, Sunil Sharma, Superintendent of Police, Sukma, Chhattisgarh denied the religious persecution issue and said that two cops showed extreme subordination and have been attached to the headquarters to avoid any further commotion.
"Two policemen, one assistant constable and another head constable fought and beat each other up. We have launched a probe which would be headed by SDOP (Sub-Divisional Officer of Police) Maraiguda to investigate the issue. Strict action would be taken against those responsible."Sunil Sharma, SP Sukma.
Christian Leaders Claim Unresponsive Behaviour by State Machinery
Arun Pannalal, president of the Christian Community Forum of Chhattisgarh, said that religious persecution is being overlooked in Chhattisgarh.
He further claimed that:
"The aggrieved people had reached out to us on the night of 21 October because they live in a Naxal area and everything closes by 6 pm. We reached out to the SP, Sukma, who directed the aggrieved to go to the Gollapally police station next day and assured us of due action. However, when the Christian tribals did go the police station, they were abused and subjected to religious slurs and were shooed away."Arun Pannalal
Pannalal further alleged that the victims were again abused and one of the policemen who spoke against the ill behavior and asked for appropriate actions against the accused was abused, slapped, and thrashed vehemently by other policemen.
"We are facing persecution at an unprecedented level and to worsen the matter the unresponsive state machinery has in many ways aggravated these attacks," Pannalal added.
Not The First Case of Allegations of Police Inaction in Religious Persecution Cases in Chhattisgarh
Earlier in September 2021, a pastor and two others were thrashed by an unidentified group of people inside a police station in the state capital of Raipur on Sunday, 5 September.
The pastor had been called to Purani Basti police station in connection with the complaints of forced religious conversions when the incident took place.
Hitting out at the state government, Arun Pannalal further claimed:
"There have been many instances of religious persecution, we aren't being heard, our complaints are not registered. The present Congress government is sowing the seeds of distrust in the hope of swaying away the non-minority community by casting us out and this is very dangerous precedent being set-up."
Refuting the allegations of police inaction and unresponsive state machinery, Congress leader and spokesperson R P Singh said that all necessary legal measures are being taken in the matter and this is an attempt by the opposition BJP to malign the image of the government.
"The two policemen who fought over some duty-related issue have been line attached. SP has launched an investigation. As for the claims of minority persecution in September, the BJP leaders thrashed pastors in police station following which a case was filed against 8 people. In the latest case too, there is a conspiracy by BJP to distract the focus from good governance to religious differences."R P Singh
(With inputs from Raunak Shivhare.)