The session for journalists, advocates and academicians was organized correspondingly which was addressed by many high profile speakers.
The session for journalists was on the topic of ‘how to make journalism a representative of the real issues’. AM Khan Yazdani of NTV, Shoukat Ali Sufi, Editor of Rashtriya Sahara (AP), and Syed Ali, journalist from Kolkata gave their views. Abdul Salam Puthige, editor and chief of Kannada daily Vartha Bharati gave the presidential address on how he perceives role of journalism for a better society.
Yovnne Ridely, British journalist who converted to Islam after she was in captive of Taliban was the key speaker of the journalist session. Ridely, who was denied visa by Indian government at the last moment to attend the conference, addressed the session live through Skype.
She in her brief but eloquent address said, that power of media should not be underestimated. Ridely said it is difficult to take on the world which is full of negative stereotypes propagated by the media. She advised Muslim youths to join media to spread the message of Islam. “If you cannot beat them, then join them and beat them from within,” she said.
She also said that non-journalists can also do their bit in fighting negative propaganda against Islam by writing letters to the editors whenever news agency carries false report portraying Islam in low light.
The advocates’ session was addressed by prominent lawyers and by the former chairman of state human rights commission E Ismail. The key note address of the session was delivered by former chief justice of India Aziz Mushabber Ahmedi.
Justice Ahmedi, in spite of his ill health, addressed the gathering of Muslim legal practitioners. In his address he said, Muslim community wants to properly utilize the law, then they have to remove any kind of fear of the system from their minds. He said Muslims like rest of Indians have been provided rights under the Constitution and Indian Muslims should apply those rights.
He asked Muslim community to properly use right to education and make their children educated. In his speech, justice Ahmedi, by giving examples, defined the importance of education especially for Muslim women.
Justice Ahmedi also discussed bias and prejudices in the criminal prosecution system. He said that people are losing hope from the criminal prosecution system as police have made a point to often arrest innocents, and police has developed a mentality that after arresting an accused their job is done.
He also gave suggestion that to make police public friendly, ‘lathi’ (stick) from their hand should be taken. “Nowhere in the Constitution it is given that police should have lathis, take lathis from their hand then see how their attitude towards general public will change,” Justice Ahmedi said.
In the academician session special importance was given to explore the ways to propagate education in the Muslim community. The session was addressed by former vice-chancellor of Osmania University Prof. Suleman Siddiqui, Dr. Aslam Abdullah university of Naveda L.A., and Dr. Faheemuddin Ahmed of Maulana Azad National Urdu University. The presidential address was given by Dr. Abdul Bari Momeen, President All India Ideal Teacher Association, teachers’wing of JIH.
Another important session of the day was of social activists which explored the title of ‘Khairul Umateen’ given to Muslim community in Quran. Hamed Mohammed Khan, president of JIH sister organization Movement for Peace and Justice, gave the inaugural address, and illustrated the concept of ‘Khaira Umateen’ and its relation to social activism. The presidential address was given by Prof. AA Faizi of Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy of Administration, Mussorie.
After afternoon prayers two separate sessions for women and children were arranged. Many schools from the city made their children participated in the kid’s session, which was also attended by Hafiz Baig and Rashed Baig, receptionist of National children award 2012 by President of India. Awards were also given to the children who made an exceptional performance in arts. The women session also witnessed huge turnout which was addressedmainly by JIH women wing leaders, including women section national chairman Atiya Siddiqui.
In the evening nearly 25,000 men and women attended general people session which was addressed by top JIH leaders. The general session began with fierce speech by Taufeeq Aslam Khan, JIH Maharashtra president on the ‘signs of domination of Islam’ and ended with presidential address by Khaled Mubasheer Zafar, in charge JIH greater Hyderabad.
Hyderabad, January 4, 2013: Vishwa Hindu Parishad international working President ParveenTogadia has been brought to notice for his communal speeches in his last December visit to Hyderabad.
A complaint was filed against him by in the 7th metropolitan magistrate by Advocate Ghulam Rabbani against the press conference of Praveen Togadia last December.
VHP president in his press conference on the issue of controversial Bhagya Lakshmi Mandir adjacent to Charminar threatened Muslims by saying that VHP will convert Hyderabad into Ayodhya if Hindus are not allowed to perform Puja (although Hindus were never stopped from doing so). He also said that VHP will teach Hyderabadi Muslims a lesson that they will never forget.
7th metropolitan magistrate accepted the complaint of Ghulam Rabbani and ordered him to record his statement on January 8. Ghulam Rabbani’s counsel Advocate Kahaled Saifullah has pleaded in the court that case under Section 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) should be registered against Parveen Togadia.
In another development, Chaitanyapuri police station has registered a case against Praveen Togadia under 295A of IPC for his hate speech he had given in Chaitanyapuri while addressing a cadre meeting of VHP. Local police station has registered the case after receiving complaints from local residents of Chaitanyapuri.
Many such cases are registered against Togadia in Hyderabad, but police has never acted against him. In fact on his frequent visits to Hyderabad, he is being provided full police security from airport to his meeting points.
The controversial press conference he made on Bhagya Lakshmi Mandir during the tense and testing time of communal fragile Hyderabadwas done in the full security of police officials.
WB: A Christian family attacked & threatened with murder by Muslim radicals *AP: Church burnt in Vizag
West Bengal, May 31, 2012: Aimazan Bibi lives with her husband Gaffar Shaike and their children in a village named Nutangram in Murshidabad District of West Bengal. She and her entire family accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour a few years ago. She has been also conducting House Church Fellowship of Christians at her residence on Mondays during the last few years. A sizable number of other Christians, both men and women along with their children attend the prayer fellowship meetings.
On 30th March 2012, she invited some Christian families for lunch at her house. The lunch was preceded by a short prayer meeting. Hardly had the the prayer meeting begun at about 2 pm when a large group of radical Muslims forcibly entered Aimazan Bibi’s house and attacked them. One Aanu Shaike son of Nizamuddin Shaike kicked Aimazan Bibi in the stomach, beat her on her head and tried to break her arm. In the meantime a mob of about 100 Muslims also gathered in front of her house and began shouting anti-Christian slogans threatening to murder them all if they continued conduct their prayer meetings. When the other Christians tried to leave the place, the radical Muslims blocked their way and did not allow them to go. Ahammed Shaike, son of Late Kalimuddin Shaike, who was leading the group of the extremists also beat up a number of Christians present and threatened to kill them all “for the sake of Allah”. Mohammed Kuran Shaike, son of Ahammed Shaike beat Aimazan Bibi’s mother Moyazan Bewa who is a 65-year-old widow. Ahamed’s Shaike’s wife, Salema Bibi beat Selina Bibi an invitee for the lunch. Most of the Christians, both men and women received minor injuries. Some small children present were screaming with fear.
Others actively involved in the attack were Mohammed Aanu Shaike who chased the Christians with a sickle and threatened to murder them while Ahammed Shaike was encouraging him and other extremists to attack them just because they are Christians. It is also learnt that Ahammed Shaike and his family members along with other extremists constantly keep on threatening Aimazan Bibi and her family members that they would succeed in their design one day or the other to murder them all as they are Christians.
Aimazan’s husband, Gaffar Shaike, submitted a written complaint to the local Police Station in Murshidabad on 31st March 2012 with copies to the District Magistrate and the Superintendent of Police in Murshidabad District. But the police or the District Administration does not seem to have taken any action till today, 31-5-2012, when the lady has approached the GCIC out of sheer desperation as Ahammed Shaike, his family members and their extremist groups keep on coming to her house and threaten them publicly that they would murder them all and that one day they would certainly succeed in executing their plan.
AP: Church burnt in Vizag
The “Seyonu Prarthana Mandhiram” church in Shelanagar was burnt while nobody was present in the church and the loss of property is estimated to be around Rupees 2.5 lakh. The church was built 25 years ago by local Christians according to information available, under Survey No. 122/1, on the basis of Home States Conformant of Ownership Act 1986. According to accounts of the church members, some local leaders had been provoking and pressuring the church believers to vacate the church property claiming that the land belongs to them.
This group of perpetrators was led by Mr. Narendra Babu, who after threatening the church started fencing the land around the church to forcibly stake claim over the land. The pastor then filed a complaint to the local police, and 2 weeks after this incident the church was set on fire by unknown miscreants, damaging about 2.5 lakh worth of property as well as cutting the power supply of the adjacent Orphanage.
The local pastor along with some of the church believers have filed a police complaint and are still waiting for action on the matter.
Andhra Pradesh, April 19, 2012: Pastor Samuel was arrested in Yellamma Banda, Hyderabad district for trespassing on a cemetery.
The pastors of Yellamma Banda deciding to upgrade the public graveyard submitted a memorandum to the Corporator and approached the Municipal Commissioner through an MLA on the 5th of April. The necessary upgrades that were to be made were the construction of a fence, along with the installation of some lights and a small cabin in the Yellamma Banda graveyard.
After a word of mouth approval by the MLA Mr. Bhiksa Yadav, Pastor Samuel and his co-workers went and began levelling the surface of the cemetery. On seeing this peculiar activity some passerby made a compliant believing that the pastor was illegally encroaching on public land.
On 16th morning at around 1:30 am, Pastor Samuel was arrested for illegally trespassing on the cemetery. Later in the morning at around 7 am about 50 pastors met with MLA Bhiksa Yadav, who promised to intervene with the SI of police and other concerned authorities.
Pastor Samuel still remains under trial in police custody even though no formal evidence could be linked to be the underlying cause of the complaint and his arrest.
Andhra Pradesh, April 18, 2012: Pastor Ahron from Dharmapuri along with a believer Promod was attacked by RSS activists for distributing pocket calendars on Monday 16th April 11 am. While, the pastor was waiting to meet the local MLA Kople Easwar for some personal reason, the Hindu radicals noticed that the pastor was carrying the small pocket calendar. They asked pastor and forced him to part with the calendar. After receiving the small pocket calendar, they abused the pastor stating that he is converting people to Christianity in the temple town.
The RSS activists then took the pastor to Dharmapuri police station circle Inspector Mahender and registered a complaint on the basis of G.O. 746 & GO 747.
Further, on 17th April they called for a Dharmapuri local strike, demanding the pastors to be arrested & FIR to be filed, As of today they are planning to meet the circle Inspector. But the appointment is postponed for 19th April in the police station for further investigation & action on the basis of GO 746 & GO 747.(GO 746 and GO 747 issued on June 2, 2007 and the ‘Andhra Pradesh Propagation of Other Religions in the Places of Worship or Prayer (Prohibition) Act, 2007 passed by the Assembly on July 23, 2007. GO 746 has accorded a special status and dispensation to Tirumala by changing its nomenclature to ‘Tirumala Divya Kshetram’, GO 747 was issued notifying 19 Hindu temples for prohibiting propagation of other religions. They said these GOs “sidetrack and violate the fundamental rights of non-Hindu citizens and are bound to encourage more attacks by Sangh Parivar on Christians.
AP: Kakinada pastor’s family brutally attacked by radicals *Nagaland: 10,000 delegates to attend Baptist jubilee
Andhra Pradesh, April 04, 12: A group of RSS activists have attacked Madhu son of Pastro Ratnababu in Kakinada in the District of East Godavari in Andhra Pradesh on 8th April at about 3.30am.The intruders knocked at the pastor’s home and requested to meet pastor urgently and the pastor’s son Madhu opened the door. The perpetrators pounced on him and stuffed his mouth with cloth and tied his hand and legs. One of the radicals sprinkled chilly powder in his eyes to blind him. They have lacerated at his ankle and other body parts. Soon-after they advanced towards pastor Ratnababu with petrol can to set fire. Attempt was also made to assault Pastor’s wife.
They beat up the pastor, his wife. Hearing the loud cries of Pastor’s wife the neighbors and believers the radicals fled from the scene. Madhu is admitted in Apollo hospital Kakinada. Madhu and others have identified the criminals and named them in their complaint registered at the Hospital but the police have registered case against unknown persons.
Pastor Ratnababu, has been serving the Lord for the last 15 years .He has been serving as the pastor of The Christu Asinadu Prarthana Mandir(church) during the last 15 years.
In October 2011, an idol of hindu god was installed near the temple with the tacit support of the lower level police and revenue officials. Three attempts were to burn down the church and also threatened to kill the pastor if he didn’t stop complying about the illegal acts of radicals.
The plot rightfully belonged to the pastor and the church. But, the disgruntled RSS workers have manipulated police and managed to get the pastor arrested two times in the last six months. The saddest part is that in spite of all that has happened to the pastor and his family, the police simply refused to accept any complaints against the perpetrators of the crime from the aggrieved party. Advocate Sudhakaran has come forward to move the Andhra Pradesh high court against the blatant violation of religious rights and personal safety of the pastor and his family. The 500 plus believers in his church are also traumatized by the callousness of the officials. Please pray for the Christians in Andhra Pradesh.
Nagaland: 10,000 delegates to attend Baptist jubilee
About 10,000 delegates are expected to attend the platinum jubilee celebrations of the Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC) next week.
The April 19-22 convention would be held at the NBCC convention centre under the theme “one new humanity in Christ” in Kohima.
Delegates would also include those from the USA, Japan, South Korea and Singapore. Cultural troupes from Thailand are also expected to take part in the event.
State Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio will inaugurate the NBCC Convention Centre, constructed for the platinum jubilee celebrations, on April 19.
The centre can accommodate up to 7000 people.
The speakers for the occasion include Peter Sulack, Reid Trulson, W Charles Smith and Anne Graham Lotz.
The program includes children’s rally, film festival and concerts.
Last month, Rio had convened a co-ordination meeting with top officials and NBCC representatives in his office chamber to discuss preparations for the event.
The CM stressed on the participation of different departments and entrusted the Kohima Chamber of Commerce & Industries and the tourism department to coordinate and organise night bazaar to facilitate flow of visitors during the celebration.
Andhra Pradesh, April 04, 2012: A 35-year-old church pastor was brutally murdered by unidentified persons who slit his throat with a sharp-edged weapon at Jerrela village of GK Veedhi mandal in the district, in the wee hours of Tuesday.
Police said, S Dumbu alias Bingo, of Dumbriguda mandal, settled as church pastor in Jerrela a few years ago. His wife Janaki is living with him, while their sons are studying at Chintapalle village.
In the early hours of Tuesday, a masked man knocked door of Dumbu’s house and told him that Maoists were waiting for him to discuss an issue. A hesitant Dumbu left with the masked man, while Janaki stayed back home. A few minutes later, the masked man came back to Dumbu’s house and informed Janaki that the Maoists killed the pastor reportedly for his irregularities in the maintenance of church. He also tried to molest her and fled with `2,500. The police suspect the involvement of 3 locals.
MP: Easter Mahotsav celebrated with Gusto
Madhya Pradesh, April 10, 2012: The Bhopal Christian community celebrated Easter Mahotsav with various cultural programmes at Bitton Market Dasara Maidan in Bhopal. It is being organized by all Christian denominations together. Around five thousand people have participated in the programme. The programme is being organised by Bhopal Christian Utsav Samiti (BCUS), a department of Isai Mahasangh.
The programme was addressed by Babulal Gaur, Minister for Urban Development, M.P, Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal, C E Fernandez, a leading Christian Industrialist, various socio-political and religious leaders too participated in the programme.
Fr. Anand Muttungal the Coordinator of the BCUS said, “it is the celebration of the joy of the Resurrection of Lord Jesus Christ with whole society. We are happy that people of all religion, faith and cast can take part in the programme.” The chief gusts in this programme included UDA minister, Babulal Gaur, The Archbishop of Bhopal, Dr. Leo Cornelio and Mr. C E Fernandez. The President of Bhopal hristian Utsav Samiti, Pastor C.P Sing said that we had organized various cultural programmes for entertainment. Stalls of different types of food will be also available.
Cultural Programme-Laughter artists Laxman Nepali, mimicry artist, Pravindra Mastan and chalta phirta orchestra artist Jagan Vidyarthi and Kailash Sony too performed. Along with this famous Christian Bhajan Gayika Sister Pushpanjli and Anusha Elizabeth presented devotional hymns. Christian orchestra, Living Stones and filmy orchestra (Viva Music) also performed various popular songs to cheer the hearts of the audience. ‘Fast Forward Troop’ presented Western and Indian dance.
Treasurer of the BCUS Roy John Thatta Said, “All the participants enjoyed various food stalls arranged for the people. Children had special arrangements of magic show, kat puthali show, folk singing etc. A special lucky draw was taken for all participants , first prize is Colour Television, second prize Electric Hot Plate, third prize DVD Player and fifty consolation prizes too were distributed to winners.”
Award Function- The chairman of Samman Samaroh Samiti, Mattew Abraham said that our jury selected and awarded Dr. Sunita Lawrence with Fr. Moore Memorial Education Award, Pastor Dr. Mattew Vergese with Archbishop Eugene D’souza Memorial Religious Achievement Award, Janab Quazi Ammanulla with Jawaharlal Nehru Secular Award and Sr. Clara Animotil with Mother Teresa Social Service Award. We selected them for their excellent service to the entire humanity.
The Members of organizing committee of BCUS, welcomed all the participants.
- fr. anand muttungal, coordinator, bcus
WB: Radical Islamists physically abuse Christians *UP: Police stop a Christian convention *AP: Land encroachment leads to the demolition of a church *Karnataka: 10 sentenced for forcible conversion
West Bengal, April 04, 2012: On 30th March, 2012, radical Islamist forcibly entered a Christian home in Nutangram, West Bengal where a group of Christians were gathered and physically assaulted them and disgraced them in public.
Mr. Gaffar Shaike and his wife had invited their Christian friends over to their place for lunch and prayer on the 30th March, 2012, in Nuntangram village, Murshidabad district, in West Bengal. Shortly after lunch while they were they were having a time of fellowship and prayer a group of radical Islamists stormed in the house of Mr. Shaike and inflicted grave injuries on 3 of those gathered. The victims are Mr. Aimazan Bibi, Ms. Moyazan Bibi and Ms. Selina Bibi.
The Christian victims were then chased out of Mr. Shaike’s house and on to the streets where they became a sight of public amusement for a large crowd of about 500 Muslims, who simply watched on as the victims were chased around and verbally and even physically abused by the radicals who were armed with knives.
The radical group are believed to be led by Mr. Mohammed Aanu Shaike, who is notorious for publicly decrying against Christians even to the extent of publicly torturing them for their faith.
A case was filed later in the evening by some Christians at the Murshidabad Police station, in Nutangram village, but so far no arrests have been made.
UP: Police stop a Christian convention
Uttar Pradesh, March 29, 2012: On 24th March, 2012 The Yeshu Mahatsava convention that was organised in Chadidiha, was disrupted by the Rampur police after complaints lodged by the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP).
Despite procuring the necessary permissions from the Associate District Magistrate to conduct the Yeshu Mahatsava Convention, the local police shut down the convention over allegations by the VHP that forced conversions was taking place. Fearing a possible backlash from the community, Sub-inspector RP Saroj arrived at the venue early in the morning and with drew the permission he himself had granted for the convention and asked for the stalls present to be removed.
VHP’s district chairman Mr. Omprakash Singh had made accusations that Christian Missionaries were converting people in the country by enticing them with money, and that they were sheltered by the government.
AP: Land encroachment leads to the demolition of a church
Andhra Pradesh, March 29, 2012: On 2nd March, 2012 a Church in Urmila Nagar, Vijayawada was partially demolished as real estate developers try to illegally encroach on property for their development projects.
Bethel Prarthana Mandiram, a church in Urmila Nagar, Kabela, which had been running for over 13 years ago, was visited by labourers hired by town planning officers to demolish the church on 2nd of March. The labourers began this illegal demolition activity at around 3 pm, right after a Friday prayer service had been conducted. Pastor Immanuel of the church in Urmila approached the town planning office with the church’s property documents. According to the documents, the church property was allocated to Mr. Madala Yacob, the great grandfather of pastor Immanuel under a military quota during the British rule in 1930.
But according to new municipality zone survey the church property falls on land belonging to corporation 80 Field Map Book (FMB), which was used as an alibi to encroach the land.
Pastor Immanuel believes that there is a conspiracy between the real estate developers and municipal town planners. And although the municipal commissioner had clarified the matter regarding the church property based on the original documents, the church building was still demolished.
Karnataka: 10 sentenced for forcible conversion
Karnataka, April 02, 2012: A local court today sentenced 11 persons on charges of trying to forcibly convert people to another religion in Kyatamballi village in the district in 2007.
The JMFC court ordered two of the 11 to undergo a jail term of 20 months,including two months of rigorous imprisonment and pay a fine of Rs 5000 each. The other nine were sentenced to one year simple imprisonment and pay a fine of Rs 2000 each.
Additional Senior Civil Judge and JMFC, H Gopalakrishna, passed the orders saying that the accused were propagating against a particular community and urging them to convert from one religion to other.
“The accused committed grave offence of creating enimity between the two communities. They committed offence prejudicial to maintainence of harmony between the two communities”, the Judge stated in the order.
According to charge sheet filed by Robertsonpet police, Kolar, the 11-member group had were openly condemning the deities worshipped by the people of a particular community and urged them to convert.
While two of the accused were sentenced under section 153(3) (promoting enmity between two different groups on grounds of religion), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal code, the others were sentenced under section 248(10) of the CrPC.
Andhra Pradesh, April 09, 2012: Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee India (CLMCI) has expressed its serious concern on the pre-planned attacks by RSS gang (BJP, VHP, Bagrang Dal, Hindu vahini Durga vahini) on Muslims in Hyderabad city. In its memorandum to commissioner of police Mr. A.K. Khan, CLMCI articulated that police have failed to control the RSS mob which the organization called “criminal negligence of the police.”
Communal violence engulfed the Hyderabad city following a rumor that some meat and green color was thrown on a Hanuman temple. Resulting violence had led to the death of one person and reports of at least nine injured. Section 144 has been imposed through-out the city. Situation has been tense for a few days.
Mr. Khan pointed out that hate-monger Praveen Togadia of VHP who has many cases registered in Hyderabad was allowed to give a speech where he spewed venom against Muslims and Christians. “Police instead of arresting him provided him security. And under the protection of police, immediately after his departure his followers and people of his type like Govind Singh of VHP and Sahadev yadav BJP counselor of Kurmaguda started pre-planned attacks on Muslims by taking advantage of Hanuman Temple episode,” informed Mr. Khan.
Lateef Mohammed Khan blamed police commissioner A. K. Khan for failing to control the situation. “that Hyderabad’s situation is deteriorating is well-known to the police and everyone in the city is concerned about it. But Hyderabad police who works under the commissioner of police Mr. A.K Khan has totally failed in controlling the situation,” added Khan.
“Communalism has got deeply rooted in the Hyderabad police. Hindutva elements have uninterrupted freedom in the city to carry out their activities,” said Mr. Lateef Mohammed Khan, general secretary of the CLMCI.
In Kurmaguda and in Syeedabad Muslims were attacked and their properties were destroyed; unruly mob even entered into the Muslim houses and molested the women folk. Hindutva forces are targeting Muslim youths in deadly attacks. But instead of providing protection to Muslims police is providing cover to the Hindutva communal forces. “It is felt that because a Muslim is holding city commissioner post, the whole Muslim community in the city is paying for it,” said Mr. Lateef Khan.
CLMCI has received many complaints regarding the arrests of Muslim youths in the city, in which many are students, and their exams are still going on. CKMCI demanded their immediate release and arrest of the real culprits, besides protection to the Muslims. “And if as a police commissioner Mr. A.K. Khan can’t fulfill his responsibility then he should resign from his post.”, the representative concluded.
AP: Jesus statue vandalized twice *Karnataka: Hindutva persecution *Gujarat: Church refutes conversion charge
This act of vandalism occurred between 1 and 2 am on the 24th of March. This was the second time that the statue has come under attack this month. On the 1st of March, the statue’s glass enclosure was shattered by unknown miscreants. Ronald John, the district president of All India Christian Council (aicc-Mahabubnagar) rushed to the spot. A few politicians and Christian leaders from the locality also visited the location and expressed their solidarity over the incident. They vowed to see that the miscreants were penalized.
A forensic lab crew is presently investigating the crime scene for any clues that would yield leads to pin down the culprits. Security around the locality has also been beefed up with about 30 constables deployed to keep watch of the streets.
Karnataka: Hindutvas beat pastor & believers
Karnataka, March 29, 2012: Pastor Mallikarjun has been active with his ministry in Gadag District of Karnataka during the last 2 and half years. He has a congregation of about 35 believers. In the surrounding 3 villages there are altogether 3 fellowships with a total membership of about 60 members. The pastor lives with his wife Manjula (33) and their 3 children two girls and a boy, aged 1, 5 and 7 years.
On Wednesday, 28th March, the pastor went for a prayer meeting at the residence of a believer which is about 15 kilometers away from his village. Also as there was a festival in the village yesterday, after the prayer meeting, the pastor along with 4 of his believer friends began distributing some handbills about the Christian faith to the people assembled for the festival. This infuriated some Hindu fundamentalists and at about 1.30 pm one Ravi Bagle and his friends, all members of the local RSS unit, attacked them and beat them up mercilessly. Then they dragged all the five of them to the police station and filed a complaint against them alleging that they were forcibly trying to convert Hindus to Christianity.
In the meantime the GCIC came to know about the arrest and got in touch with some of the known police officials and succeeded in getting 3 of the believers released at about 11 pm. The pastor was charged under sections 107 and 157 of IPC and was about to be produced before the magistrate. The GCIC immediately got a lawyer, and he succeeded in getting the pastor and the other believer too released at about 1.30 am. But the pastor had to meet the Tahsildar on 29th morning and give his version. The case is on. Please pray for Pastor Mallikarjun.
Gujarat Church refutes conversion charge
The Church in Gujarat has termed a probe into proselytization charge against it as “intimidatory and harassing” tactics by the state government.
A forum for Peace and Justice based in Petlad town of Anand district had alleged that 32 minor dalit children were converted into Christianity by a Roman Catholic Church at Khambat taluka.
Father Cedric Prakash, convenor Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace described the charges as “baseless, misleading and mischievous,”.
He said the forum was referring to the ceremony where some Catholic children were conferred sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation at the Khambat church.
Forum coordinator Dharmendra Rathod had claimed that on January 2, 17 minors were converted to Christianity at Roman Catholic Church of Nagra and on February 12 nearly 15 other minor children were converted at the denomination’s Church in Cambay.
He alleged that the schedule caste children, who belonged to the weavers’ community, were converted without their parents knowledge.
However, three church officials including Frs. Andrews Silvera, Vinay and Piyush from the Cambay church have rubbished the claims.
“All the children whose names have been mentioned are Christians by birth so there is no question of conversion. Their parents were present during a ceremony that was held,” said Fr Silvera.
He said they have made their statements to the police on Tuesday.
“This is another clear instance of how minorities in Gujarat continue to be intimidated and harassed by right-wing forces in nexus with powerful vested interests,” said Fr Prakash.