Communal aggression while distributing aid in flood-hit Kerala
Pastor Gladson ministers at an independent Church, Bethel at Pandanaadu village, Chengannur Taluk, Alapuzha District, Kerala.
This taluk has been battered by incessant rain and because of the flooding, many people have been displaced. However, people have just started returning to their homes as the water has significantly subsided.
Pastor Gladson and members of Bethel Church, had decided to contribute to the relief efforts, by distributing food items to the 50-odd families living at Pandanaadu village. Around 500 Kgs of rice and other essentials had been both collected and stored at Christian Fellowship Church, located on the main road, for safe keeping.
On 05th September, around 10 pm, Pastor Gladson along with his wife, sister in-law and a few members of the Church, gathered to make small parcels of the food items, to facilitate distribution on the following day. As they worked, they heard raised voices from outside the Church. As Pastor Gladson and Bro. Suresh stepped out to investigate, they were ambushed by a local villager who accused them of distributing food only to Christians and ignoring the non-Christian villagers.
Soon a mob gathered and this vigilante group, affiliated to a local religious fundamental organisation, brutally beat both Pastor Gladson and Bro. Suresh. The women were also pushed and manhandled by the mob.
In spite of this troubling communal incident and false charges, Pastor Gladson is determined to deliver the relief goods to each of the 50 families living at Pandanaadu village, given the devastating situation
No complaint was lodged with the Police. However, Pastor and Bro. Suresh needed medical treatment for the injuries they sustained.
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