Man beaten and threatened to renounce christianity

12 March 2020: A young mother and her two children were staring at her husband as he lay unconscious after a mob of 60 villagers in eastern India had stormed their home and beaten him with wooden sticks. “The children and I tried to wake him up – we thought he had fainted – but there was no response,” Bhimeshwari Sodi told. “We cried out for help, but there was nobody to help us. The neighbors said that he was dead.” The animist mob, worshipers of the gods of their tribal religion, beat 30-year-old Kama Sodi unconscious in Odisha state’s Kodalmetla village, Malkangiri District on the morning of March 12, she said. They had first attacked him the night before, surrounding his house as he, his wife and children were praying as they would before bed, Bhimeshwari Sodi said. Before the attack that night, the hard-line animists had shouted at the family that they would kill them, she said. “I was able to protect my two small children from their beatings, but my husband was in their clutches,” the 26-year-old Sodi said. “They were beating him very brutally.” Her children are ages 3 and 6. Sodi pleaded with the assailants to stop and cried for help, but they continued beating him, vowing that they would kill him, she said. “Even while suffering in their hands, my husband refused to give up his faith,” Sodi told. “They declared that they would allow a chance for him to live if he declared that he had renounced Christ. But my husband declined their offer and chose to suffer.” During the second attack the morning of March 12, she screamed at the assailants that he would die if they didn’t stop, she said. “They had beaten him very badly once again,” Sodi said. “They went on until they were sure that he shattered on the floor and stopped responding.” The assailants threw the family’s food grains and belongings outside and told them to leave the village, she said. Christian leaders arrived to find Sodi still lying unconscious, area pastor Timuthiyus Elijah told. “The children and his wife sat around him weeping,” Pastor Elijah said. Pastors from Erbanpally’s New Bethesda Jesus Christ Tribal Ministries arranged for Kama Sodi to be taken to Malkangiri Government Hospital, he said. Doctors told Bhimeshwari Sodi that her husband had suffered severe blows to the head and had fallen into a coma, and that they were unsure when he would regain consciousness, she said. “By God’s grace, he regained consciousness after nearly one and a half days,” she told. “But the doctors insisted that he must be hospitalized for at least a week.” Doctors told her he had blood clots in his brain, would need extra care at home and should not return to work until he fully recovered, she said. Sodi said she spent her last 2,000 rupees (US$26) on medicines and enough food to feed the children for the week they spent at the hospital. She had hoped to work extra hours at others’ fields to sustain the family while he recovered, but soon after his release from the hospital, the government announced a lockdown on March 22 to contain the novel coronavirus, she said. “By the time we reached home, most of our belongings which the assailants had thrown outside our home were missing,” Sodi said. “Mud had piled up on food grains they threw out.” The small plot of land yields 20 to 30 bags of food grains, and what they are unable to sell they store as food for the remainder of the year, she said. Now those grains are gone, and villagers are ostracizing them economically, she said. “Nobody wants to offer us work, and we are happy with whatever God provides us,” Sodi said. “I’m washing the mud off the few food grains I could gather from the floor and am cooking them for the children. My husband and I are having whatever leftovers there are once a day. The rest of the time, we would prefer to starve. If the children eat and go to sleep, we would be contented in that.” Village women try to stop her from drawing water at the common bore-well, she said. “They throw my pots aside and fill theirs first,” Sodi said. “Yet I would stand there patiently for all of them to draw water. The women would look at me, spit and turn their faces aside when I pass by. They hate us.”

Other Informations
Source of information News Report Place of incident Private Residence
Number of victims 1 Identity of victim Christians
Location of incident Private Residence Was cross FIR filed No
perpetrator Organizational Right Wing Hindutva Details of the FIR

Investigating agency Victim's lawyer
Role of police Need confirmation Current status
Charges Filed Other details
judgement Reference other information
Civil society reports

User Pic
Main Information
Date of incident: March 12, 2020
Nature of Violence
  • Physical assault
  • Threat
  • Causal factors
  • Religious identity
  • No. of People Injured 1
    Name of the victim : Kama Sodi
    Name of Perpetrator Undisclosed
    State Odhisa
    District/City Malkangiri
    Party In Power / Incidents BJD - Biju Janata Dal
    Media link