Tensions prevailed in the Kadayam area of Tenkasi district after Tamil Nadu police threatened to register false cases against a Hindu resident and forced him to remove saffron flags hoisted atop their house.
A video has gone viral on social media platforms in which a police inspector was seen arguing with Chelladurai, a resident of the Kadayam area in Tenkasi district in Tamil Nadu, for putting up a Hindu saffron flag atop his residence.
In the video, a police officer, identified as Inspector Reghurajan, can be seen approaching the residence of Chelladurai. The police officer picks up an argument with the family of Chelladurai and asks him to remove the saffron flag put outside his house. After he removes the Hindu Munnai flag, a bulldozer appears at the spot after some time which razes the compound wall of his residence.
A Hindu family is forced to remove saffron flag from their house, got beaten by police & house bulldozed.— Mr Sinha (@MrSinha_) July 30, 2021
This incident is not from Pakistan but an Indian state Tamilnadu. pic.twitter.com/HV0GRFSMGW
According to a report by the Organiser, the incident occurred at Pulavanoor village near Kadayam. The police officer Reghurajan was present at the spot to act on the Chelladurai and his family after a church had filed a complaint against the family.
As police began to demolish the outer wall of Chelladurai’s residence, several villagers, including women, children sat on the road to protest against the registration of false cases against the members of Hindu communities.
Following the demolition drive, the agitated family members of the Chelladurai confronted the police, saying, “You are silent against atrocities committee by other religions, but you want us to remove the encroachment; We are ready; but first, ask the Christians to remove the illegal encroachment. Don’t we have a right to a flag of our choice of party we like?”
In response, the Inspector warned them, “Do not talk rules. If you do, I will book a false case. So remove the encroachment and the flag.”
Church encroached Chelladurai’s land, forced him to remove the wall
As per Kutralanthan, a Hindu Munnani leader and advocate, the dispute between Chelladurai and a Christian group erupted six months ago. The Hindu residents of Pulavanoor village had protested against the construction of an illegal church on government land. They had even lodged a complaint with the police asking to take action against illegal encroachment by the church.
However, due to the strong influence of the Church on the DMK-led Tamil Nadu government, the police did not take any action against the church, said the Hindu activist.
“Because of the strong influence of the Christians, we have to fight against all. Had the police taken action against our complaint, things would not have gone to such magnitude. However, the partial action of the police is leading to communal clashes that can occur any time if the situation prevails in the area,” Kutralanthan said.
Narrating the incident in detail, he said that auto driver Chelladurai had built a house with a compound wall a couple of years ago. Later, a church was built in that area. The main entrance of the church was adjacent to Chelladurai’s compound wall. The revenue department details also showed that the land belonged to Chelladurai. Hence, Chelladurai built a structure with hollow blocks and put up a roof.
A few months later, another church was built near the left side of his house. The church people objected to the wall of his house, saying the wall was a hindrance to the church gate and asked him to remove the structures immediately. Anticipating the ulterior motives of the church, Chelladurai started a signature campaign claiming the church was built on government land and a water body.
Chelladurai registered a complaint against the church along with other residents, urging them to remove the illegal church built on the government land. However, the police did not take any action against the church.
Chelladurai was attacked by a mob instigated by the church, says villagers
A month after the incident, a mob entered his house, destroyed his auto parked outside before demolishing the compound. The mob also broke the glass window panes and other items. After the attacks on his family, Chelladurai registered another complaint against the Church pastor and another 15 members saying they damaged his auto, house, compound wall besides threatening him with dire consequences.
After severe protests, the local police finally registered a case and investigated the case. So far, eight persons have also been arrested in this connection who are on bail.”
Meanwhile, Hindu Munnani leaders visited Chelladurai’s residence and gave him Rs.10,000 as cash assistance to repair his house’s auto and compound wall.
“Christians with 30 per cent population unitedly pulled his building down and destroyed the auto-rickshaw after the transformer was off. No case was booked against the Christians for this heinous crime. Inspector 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 you have admitted church has encroached. So you remove the encroachment first, we will ask Chelladurai to remove the same after it was marked. i.e. the area to be removed,” said Hindu Munnani leader Vijaykumar.
He alleged that the Christians are using the police as a tool to encroach on the land belonging to the Chelladurai family.
A few days after the attack, a police team led by Reghurajan visited Chelladurai’s house, as recorded in the video footage, to remove the remaining compound that allegedly blocked entry into the church. They asked him to remove the Hindu Munnani flag on the wall. However, Chelladurai came out with a can of kerosene and threatened to set himself on fire if they demolish the wall.
Instead of acting on the encroachers, the police arrested Reghurajan and took him to the station. Meanwhile, the Church has filed a case against Chelladurai, claiming that the police must pull down the wall adjacent to the church. The police have also arrested a youth who went to enquire about the well-being of Chelladurai.
“Inspector acted like a stooge of Christians, which is condemnable. We have taken up this with the district police superintendent,” said a Hindu leader.
The villagers alleged that the police officials razed the compound wall without the presence of the village administrative officer. They also alleged that the police pulled down the remaining wall after taking Chelladurai into custody. The village officer, who arrive later, said that Chelladurai was arrested for preventing the officials from doing their job.
The police officials have contended that Chelladurai was arrested for obstructing them to carry out their work. The police have released the few members of the church officials involved in the attack.