Uttarakhand police has booked Christian Missionaries for forced conversions, two days before Christmas. Police took the action after complaints from locals about alleged forced conversion activities. The incident took place in Devdhung village of Uttarkashi district in Uttarakhand.
Local villagers and a group of Christian missionaries had a clash over the incident. After initial complaint, the Missionaries also filed a cross complaint. Police has booked complaints against both sides. So far, the cops are investigating the allegations and have not arrested anyone.
According to reports, the incident happened when Pastor Lazarus Cornelius from the Union Church in Mussoorie and his wife Sushma Cornelius were leading prayers at an under-construction building in the Chhiwala village. The local villagers got reports of forced conversion from here and rushed to the spot. The two sides had a fight and both groups have received minor injuries during the altercation.
The police said that they have booked persons associated with a Christian missionary organisation, Asha Aur Jivan Kendra. Police has booked them under different Sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 153(a) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace). After cross FIR, police has booked five villagers for rioting under Section 147, 153(a), 323 and 504 of the IPC.
Meanwhile, promising a strict action, state Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said today that the government had brought the Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act to deal sternly with people who indulge in forcible conversions.
“Villagers have complained of Missionaries undertaking collective conversions at a programme in the area. A minor clash also took place between the villagers and the organisers of the programme,” he added.
Notification not issued
It was last month only that the state Assembly had passed the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2022. It will make unlawful religious conversions a cognizable and non-bailable offence in the state. Such actions will be punishable with imprisonment for a term of at least three years to a maximum of 10 years. However, the government has not issued notification for it. Meanwhile, reports of rampant conversions by Christian Missionaries keep pouring in from the hill state.
On this issue, renowned author of 40 books, Dr David Frawley had earlier said, “Christian missionaries have long targeted Uttarakhand and the Himalayan region, trying to move into the sacred land of the Hindus that they do not respect. It is notable that the state government is taking action against them.”