A week passed, Dalit Christian carol group still unable to leave their shelter in fear; five families stuck in Church as gangs waiting outside to attack

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By Sulfa Mazood

A week has gone by after a carol group in Kottayam’s Pathamuttam sought refuge inside a church after a gang of DYFI activists allegedly attacked them during pre Christmas celebrations. Five Dalit Christian families which includes children were attacked on 23 December night. Attackers were arrested and bailed out. The carol group still can’t get outside of St Paul’s Anglican church as the attackers are still around.

Yamiya thankachan, an engineering student in the carol group who got severely injured in the attack says that DYFI activists from the area attacked them. She says that they are still chasing them even after they just got bail in the attack case. She demands justice for the attacked carol group.

The attackers are violating the bail condition which restricts their entry in to the church premises. Amidst death threats and physical attacks these Dalit Christian families are insecure and seeking justice. Yamiya is wounded right down to her left eye. Yamiya has to attend her semester exam tomorrow. But she can’t step out of the Church she right now sought refuge in. She narrates the incidents.

“Ours is a small church, it is the Church’s 50th anniversary this year. We were very happily singing at a house in Muttithara colony, around 25 youngsters rushed in abusing us. I can’t explain the abuses they hurled at us. they brutally assaulted our brothers who questioned this. the attackers are DYFI activists whom we can identify. when we returned, they followed us in an auto and threatened that they will kill us. They had swords with them. We informed this to police. We were all crying, including young children.
We were scared to enter through the main gate to the church. We took another road. We had already decided to put an end to the programs by 12 at night. So we had prepared food by then.
later some of us had dinner, few of us went to have dinner. A mob of around 50 rushed in shouting. We were scared and running back to the church. A stone was thrown and it pierced my cheek. Blood spilled out. Here women will not enter the altar. But we all women saved ourselves by getting into the altar.
They spoiled the food we cooked. They destroyed all the chairs and stuffs in our church. We all are firm on our faith. They destroyed these things, we are very hurt. They all dispersed after we rang the church bell.
I sat here for two hours, bleeding. I was almost unconscious. later police came and i was taken to hospital in police jeep.
Then we came to know that they attacked the church secretary’s house. A three year old child and mother was there. They attacked her very brutally. They attacked the child too. They attacked neighbors’ houses. They destroyed our vehicles. We all are feverish.
I am an engineering student. My father is a daily wage laborer. We are three daughters. I am studying in a far away place. I reach home very late almost by night. I am scared to come alone. nobody can accompany me always. I have my semester exam on monday. I can’t skip the exam. If i skip i have to pay fee again. We want justice. Something must be done.”

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