Mancherial: The police have registered a case against the pastor of a church that was the centre of attention following the death of a 21-year-old man Rajesh on Saturday. It may be recalled that Rajesh’s family had brought the man to the church hoping for a miraculous cure to his fever as reportedly promised by the pastor but the man lost his life after four days of being kept at the church premises, according to Rajesh’s mother Mangamma.
“My son is aged 21. None should meet his fate. Like me, many mothers are being duped here,” Girishitti Mangamma alleged as she bewailed for losing her son at a family-run church hoping he would be recovered from a chronic fever, which was not cured in private hospitals, at holy place as believed by hundreds of devotees.
Mangamma was devastated following the death of her son, Rajesh, at a popular church situated on the Somagudam village in Kasipet mandal on Saturday. A native of Maddirala in Suryapet district, she thronged it expecting her ailing son would be recovered, four days back. To her shock, he died at the religious centre after his medical condition got deteriorated.
Mangamma along with some locals accused that assistants of the organisers assured to admit Rajesh into a hospital, but did not do so. “A driver was deployed for shifting my son to a hospital in a jeep. But the driver did not take Rajesh to any hospital and moved hither to thither. We realised that he was misleading us and raised alarm. Some youngsters helped us in getting out of the vehicle and rushed my son to a government hospital. Doctors said he was brought dead,” she charged.
Kasipet Sub-Inspector K Bhaskar Raju said that a case was registered against the pastor of the church, Praveen Kumar and Sister Sharon under Sections 304 (ii) and 420 of the Indian Penal Code, following a complaint received from Mangamma, who belongs to Vaddera community. Investigations were begun into the incident. Post-mortem of the body was performed at a government hospital in Bellampalli on Sunday.
Locals said that a large number devotees, belonging to several parts of not only erstwhile Adilabad, but also neighbouring districts of Telangana visit the church located on Mancherial-Bellampalli road as the pastor and his wife reportedly claim to heal several diseases at the holy place by conducting mass prayers every week. They alleged that the organisers were fleecing the gullible devotees under the pretext of curing ailments, with the help of prayers.
However, Kasipet police said no case was registered against Praveen and Sharon so far except for the latest one. The couple drew flak on social media platforms, following the death of Rajesh. Praveen, a musician by profession and Sharon, a retired employee of Railway hospital, had established the church around 10 years ago. The couple was not available for a comment on the incident.
Jana Vignana Vedika demands action against the Pastor
Representatives of Jana Vignana Vedika (JVV), a voluntary organisation demanded the government take action against the Pastor Praveen Kumar and Sister Sharon belonging to a family-run church at Somagudem in Kasipet mandal, for their alleged role in the death of a 21-year-old student belonging to Suryapet district on Saturday.
In a statement, Dr Ande Satyam, JVV president and Ravula Varaprasad, JVV general secretary said Mangamma, the mother of Rajesh, had brought her ailing son to the church after being suggested to do so by disciples of Praveen Kumar. Staffers of the holy place misled her by not admitting Rajesh into a hospital to cover up the death.
The JVV leaders alleged that Praveen and Sharon of fleecing crores of rupees from the gullible public under the pretext of treatment of many diseases including AIDS, with the help of prayers and converting devotees into Christianity over many years.