Pastor Rajkumar Yesudasan (50) of a Pentecostal church has been arrested by police in Navi Mumbai for molesting at least three minor girls staying in a children’s home run by the church.
NRI Coastal police in the posh Seawoods area carried out the arrest following a complaint registered by Thane District Women and Child Welfare Department (TDWCWD). On August 5, TDWCWD’s Child Protection officer, Suvarna Jadhav, and other officials visited Bethel Gospel Pentecostal Church at Seawoods Sector 48 based on a written letter they received.
“In the letter that we received, it was mentioned that the children in the ashram (sic) run by the church were molested,” district child protection officer, Ramkrishna Reddy, said.
Appropriating Hindu words like ashram to fool unsuspecting and trusting Hindus and Dharmiks is a well-honed tactic of unscrupulous Christian missionaries. Pentecostals are the one of the most predatory and radical Christian Protestant cults that operate worldwide with their base in the US. They often exploit the poor and gullible through superstitions and mass-hysteria inducing tricks like ‘speaking in tongues‘ and ‘divine healing‘.
During their visit, the officials found that 45 children between 3 and 18 years were housed in two small unhygienic rooms. “For health and safety reasons, the children were shifted on August 5 to different children’s homes,” Vijay Kharat from Yuva Child Line said. Of the 45 children, 12 were girls and 33 boys.
The case was registered on Friday evening after one of the girls of the 45 children whom they rescued narrated the incidents that happened in the church wherein they were staying.
“The children belong to Rajasthan, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Pandharpur, Mumbai and Thane. They came here through various churches. These are children from under-privileged homes wherein the parents are unable to take care of them. Currently, all have been handed over to their legal guardians,” Pallavi Jadhav, child protection officer who is also the complainant in the case, said.
Exploiting poor people in the name of providing free education to their children or other benefits is a widely-used tactic by Christian missionary groups who are well funded by their rich Western benefactors from the ‘civilized first world’. There have been umpteen instances of Christian children homes across the country acting as dens of horrific child abuse, but this ugly reality is completely whitewashed in popular discourse. While Hindu Dharma gurus are demonized in Bollywood, Christian ‘fathers’ are almost always shown as soft-spoken, morally upright figures.
While enquiring with the children, a 14-year-old girl opened up and told that she was molested several times on the pretext of applying Vicks over her body. When she had complained to the wife of the pastor, the pastor yelled at his wife saying that he was a ‘man of God’ and what he did was with ‘good intention’, the girl revealed to Jadhav.
Many pastors, Church officials and fundamentalist Christian proselytizers/preachers/missionaries harbor the belief that their sins should be forgiven by just asking for forgiveness from Jesus, and that those who are in the ‘service of God’ are answerable only to the Church organization they work for, and not to ordinary law enforcement agencies like laypeople, i.e. those who are not part of the Christian clergy, are. In the words of the powerful fifth-century Christian monk Shenoute, “”There is no crime for those who have Christ.”
“When resisted, she was also assaulted on several occasions. The parents of the children were strictly told that they could meet the kids only once in two months. If any parent questioned about anything, they used to be threatened that they would not get any place on land to be buried after death,” Reddy added.
The accused used to tell the victim that every child coming to stay in the church needs to ‘apply Vicks’ from the hands of the pastor.
“The accused has been arrested under sections of assault and molestation of IPC and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. He will be produced before the POCSO Court in Thane on Saturday,” Ravindra Patil, senior police inspector from NRI police station, said.