Tortured for reading Bible? Forced to drink cow’s urine?

December 17, 2012 by  
Filed under newsletter-lead

Lakshmi RathodMumbai, December 16, 2012: Two sisters living in Pune fled their home after they were tortured by their family members when they converted from Hinduism to Christianity.

The victim residents of Padmavati Nagar, Pune, are living as a fugitive in Mumbai for the last three months with their friends and had requested FPJ not to disclose their location as their family members had allegedly threatened them with honour killing.

The victims identified as Lakshmi Rathod (20) and Vimla Rathod (19) were tortured, assaulted, threatened with honour killing, labelled as ashoodh (unholy), locked in a room for several days and were forced to drink cow urine daily by their parents when they started reading the Holy Bible.

Despite several efforts by their friends and the well-wishers to register an FIR in Sahakar Nagar police station, Pune, against the family members was not registered.

According to Lakshmi, a student of FY MCom, everything in her family was going on fine till her mother saw the Bible in her bag. “I never thought it was a heinous crime to read the Bible after you are born in a Rajasthani Marwadi family. I loved the verses and I always felt peaceful after reading the words. But the day when my mother found the Bible from my bag the attitude of my family completely changed”, said Lakshmi.

Since then Lakshmi had stopped studying and was regularly beaten up by her father Bhavarlal Rathod, a grocery shop owner in Pune. Lakshmi’s mother called her ashoodh and she was forced to drink a cup of gawmutr (cow urine) every morning, said Lakshmi.

“When I resisted my breakfast, my tea, my dinner and my lunch was mixed with the (cow urine). I was mentally tortured, and many time I was beaten up by my father”, said Lakshmi.

Lakshmi’s younger sister Vimla who is a BSc student was also influenced by the Holy Bible and had started attending Sunday mass and prayers in the church since last one year. The same tortures was repeated on Vimla, when her family members came to know that rather than practising the inherited religion, both their daughters are following the footsteps of Christianity.

On August 12, when Lakshmi’s father again forced her to drink urine she resisted after which she was brutally beaten up by both mother and father.

“My mother burnt my legs with a heated iron rod and my father stood on my neck and later he banged my head on the wall after which I fell unconscious”, said Lakshmi.

After several days of confinement and house detention the duo sisters planned to flee the house when their uncle Modaram Chowdhary threatened them that, if needed they will kill them to protect the honour of the family, said Vimla.

On October 10, the duo sisters after fleeing from their home went to the Sahakar Nagar police station to register an FIR against the family member but their plea went to the deaf ears. On October 15 the duo went to Abdur Rehman, Additional Commissioner, (Admin), Pune, who directed the Sahakar Nagar police station to take appropriate action in the case. But the then police officials present at the station refused to register a complaint and abused the duo, alleges Lakshmi.

“I am not forced by anyone, I and my sister love to worship Jesus Christ and I am not looking for any conversion. I just want a simple freedom to worship what I like and what I believe in,” said Lakshmi.

The duo sisters are still willing to register an FIR against her father and mother including her uncle who had allegedly threatened several other people in Pune who had helped the victims when they were detained in their home. The facebook page of the Vimla and Lakshmi too shows many Jesus pictures they had saved which shows their love and compassion.

Somaram Rathod, one of the close family members of the duo sisters, denied every allegation made by them.

Senior Police Inspector of Sahakar Nagar, Pune, K S Takawade said, three months back the girls had submitted a written affidavit in the police station saying they are above 18 and they are leaving their home on their own. However, Takawade said we had never denied registration of any police complaints against the family of Lakshmi and Vimla.

Y P Singh, former IPS officer-turned-lawyer said, “If the girls are willing to register an FIR against their family member then naturally there must be an element of truth and if any police officer is denying to register the complaint then they are violating the Supreme Court guidelines”. Freedom of religion is a fundamental rights and no one can stop anyone doing that, added Singh.

– fpj

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