Photo: For representational purpose only
A Malayali evangelist who has been involved in large-scale conversions in Madhya Pradesh has been arrested for indulging in forceful conversions. The Satna police have booked M George, director of St. Ephrem’s Theological College, and five others under Sections 153B (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration) and 295A (outraging religious feelings). They are out on bail.
Local Hindus alleged that the evangelists have been using fraudulent means to convert illiterate and poor villagers. The Police said the detentions were made on the basis of a complaint filed by Dharmendra Dohar of Bhumkahar village, who alleged that he was being forced to embrace Christianity. “There was a complaint against M George, director of St. Ephrem’s Theological College, accusing him of converting Dharmendra Dohar into Dharmendra Thomas. We have arrested him,” said Satna SP Rajesh Hingankar. The police also filed a case against local villagers who set a car on fire which belonged to the evangelical group.
According to reports, a group of 32 carol singers were detained by the police.
Rajendra Tiwari, state convener of Bajrang Dal, said: “We have been getting complaints from people that foreign-funded evangelists were indulging in religious conversions. Such conversions create social tension. We will campaign against fraudulent conversions. We have appealed to police to take strong action.”
According to an evangelical organization, there are about 60,000 Keralites involved in proselytization in India and Nepal.