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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Pastor, his wife, & 4 others booked under Uttarakhand Religious Freedom Act 2018

A case has been registered against a Pastor, his wife, and four others in connection with a mass conversion case in Uttarakhand. According to media reports, Pastor Jejaras Cornelius and his wife Pushpa Cornelius have been involved in evangelism in the villages of Uttarakhand where they confuse the villagers by making misleading claims about Hindu dharma. Cornelius is the pastor of the Union Church of Mussoorie.

Reports have emerged claiming that more than 500 people embraced Christianity in Uttarakhand’s Kashipur. The Pastor’s role in converting people to Christianity in Uttarkashi District’s Chhiwala village (Puraula Tehsil) has come to the fore. The police registered a case after a preliminary investigation based on the complaint filed by VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) against the missionaries. It has further come to light that Hindu villagers including members of VHP have been booked by the police after the missionaries filed a counter-complaint against them.

“A case of mass conversion came to light on Christmas in Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand. The case is of the Devdhung area of Purola. It is alleged that on December 23, the program was organized outside the newly constructed building of the NGO. The event was attended by local people and people of Nepali origin along with some people associated with a Christian missionary. Villagers and Hindu organizations allege that Christian missionaries are doing mass conversions”, reports Zoom News.

Chhiwala is a sparsely populated village inhabited by locals and people of Nepali origin. Earlier, the villagers caught evangelists attempting to convert locals. It has also come to the fore that the Pastor and his team were repeatedly visiting the village for years. They have been accused of holding secret prayer meetings. They lured villagers using misleading information about Hindu Dharma and distributed literature about Christianity. Several villagers fell into their trap and became Christians.

The police confirmed that investigations are underway and the accused evangelists would be arrested after the investigations are completed. It must be mentioned that this is the first case registered after the Religious Freedom Act was amended. Under the amended Act, the jail term has been increased to ten years.

ADG (law and order) V Murugesan said that the police headquarters has instructed all the districts to take the complaints of religious conversions seriously. Police officials have been instructed to take immediate action on any complaint in this regard and investigate the matter on a priority basis. They are to take action as soon as possible. Additionally, police have been directed to maintain law and order in the district.

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