Suspected members of a Hindu militant group kidnapped and tortured a Christian resident in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, shaved his head and paraded him on a donkey for four hours, mocking Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem, for allegedly luring local Hindus to convert to Christianity, according to reports.
Awdhesh Kumar Savita, 35, however, denied that he had forced anyone to convert and has filed a police complaint against 25 alleged members of the Hindu fundamentalist group Bajrang Dal and 200 unidentified men, Charisma News reported.
"I have been practising Christianity for the last few years. But I have never insisted on converting anybody,'' Savita told police after he was rescued hours past, the Times of India reported.
In the police report he filed, Savita said a group of Hindu militants led by Akhilesh Diha kidnapped him from his house, mauled him, shaved his head and paraded him in the village on a donkey.
Superintendent of Police N. Kolanchi said Savita was rescued around 10 p.m. after he was paraded along the half-kilometre stretch in a village that includes two police outposts. More than 200 witnessed the torture, according to some reports.
Police said five members of the Hindu militant group were arrested on the basis of their identification from a video and photographs showing a crowd manhandling Savita, the Times said.
Aside from the one filed by the Christian man against the radical group, another police report was filed against Savita in connection with the Friday incident.
In his counter complaint, Sangam Jatav, who is close to Bajrang Dal, alleged that Savita forced him to eat beef so he could be converted into Christianity .
"He and his friends promised me a job and financial help if I agreed to visit Varanasi and meet some of his associates. But on reaching there, they took me to a church and forced me to walk on the posters of Hindu gods and goddesses and eat beef,'' the 30-year old said, adding that there were six persons in the church at that time and they declared that he had been converted to Christianity because he had eaten beef.
He claimed that the incident happened a month ago, and that he had approached the police soon after returning from Varanasi but was denied an audience. "I was upset and decided to inform the Bajrang Dal leaders."
Police said they had receive no such complaint.
The Bajrang Dal is a militant organisation closely linked to the Indian VHP party, according to their website. They have been linked to several attacks on Christians.