Chennai: Death of pastor raises eyebrows, family seeks investigation

Villagers allege certain religious outfits were threatening him.

Published: 24th January 2018 02:16 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th January 2018 08:22 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: Four days after the alleged suicide by pastor V Gideon Periyasamy allegedly due to harassment by certain religious outfits,  villagers of Adaiyalachery finally allowed the autopsy of the body to be performed at the Government Hospital in Chengalpattu on Tuesday.

Police personnel assured the people that they will take unbiased action against the suspects if autopsy confirmed that pastor Gideon was murdered and his body hung by a rope.

V Gideon Periyasamy

Almost 22 years ago Ramamurthy, then 23, a native of Tambaram, embraced pentecostal Christianity taking the name, Gideon.

Since his conversion, he was said to be an active preacher and left his house at the age of 30, said his elder sister Mallika. “Gideon spent more than 10 years in villages around Kalpakkam and five years ago built the present Maknayeem Church at Adaiyalachery on East Coast Road.

On Saturday morning, when Esther and Sivaranjani went to meet Gideon to ask about the Sunday services, they were in for a shock.

“I saw pastor kneeling on the floor and a chair in front of him. The left hand was on the chair and the right hand was hanging. There was a rope around his neck, tied to the roof of the hut,” said Sivaranjani.
As word spread, information was given to Ponjur police who sent the body to Chengalpattu government hospital on Satuday for post-mortem.

Talking about the suspects, Pastor Anandan, a close associate of Gideon, said the latter had a lot of troubles from some persons alleged to be Hindu activists, who did not approve of the pastor’s works.
He claimed, two years ago, four men from a Hindu group trespassed into the church and ransacked the church by removing the thatched roof.

Pastor Selothraj, Synod co-ordinator of Kancheepuram district, told Express that every time they met, Gideon would tell him about the problems he was facing. The church and the house that are adjacent to each other, were totally isolated from the rest of the village.

Alleging the death of the pastor to be a murder, hundreds of Christians from the State gathered near Chengalpattu government hospital, demanding an inquiry into the “planned murder.’
On Monday, VCK leader was also present to condemn the incident.

On Tuesday, the fourth day of the protest, the autopsy was done and the body was handed over to his elder sister Mallika and the fellow pastors.

The body was then taken to Adayalachery for final prayers. Hundreds of people gathered before the body arrived and almost a hundred police personnel were posted along ECR to prevent any untoward incidents.  
“The body was found hanging with no injury marks. Only a post-mortem result will confirm the nature of the death,” said DSP Mathivanan of Chengalpattu.

“The Christian community has mentioned four suspects in the complaint based on the previous troubles caused by them,” said another police officer, who added, an FIR has been filed.

Since permission to bury the body of the pastor in his church was not granted, the burial took place in the colony graveyard 200 metres away from the church.

“After the post-mortem results are out, we will decide if we should continue the fight,” said Pastor E Selothraj.

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