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Saturday, June 10, 2023

TN: IAF officer and family harassed by pastor for resisting conversion

An officer of the Indian Air Force(IAF) has complained that his family is being harassed and forced to convert by a pastor in Tamil Nadu. After exhausting all options he filed a petition with the district collector seeking action against the pastor. The pastor reportedly films his wife while she is alone and verbally abuses her and the neighbours who refuse to convert.

Dhanpal, a resident of Senthamangalam in Thiruvarur district is an Air Force officer. He works at the Air Force base in Thanjavur. His wife and children live alone in Thiruvarur while he is away at work. One Rajendran, a Christian convert, has encroached on the plot adjacent to his house and erected a tent. Dhanpal says that the plot is a Poramboke land and has complained about the encroachment to authorities many times.

The officer has alleged that pastor Rajendran claims to exorcize ghosts and evil spirits  and abuses Hindu deities.. He harasses neighbours by raising noise through speakers in the name of preaching. Dhanpal has lamented that his children’s studies are spoiled due to this and that he cannot even rest or spend time with his family when he comes home for holidays. Dhanpal has complained that pastor Rajendran has been forcing his and other Hindu families’ in the neighbourhood to convert to Christianity.

Dhanpal had filed a complaint about the encroachment and the pastor’s illegal activities to the authorities in 2019. At that time the Revenue Divisional Officer(RDO) ordered the removal of the encroachment, but it was not removed. He has reportedly been claiming to be a journalist and harassing neighbours with a group of gangsters. Dhanpal has claimed that the pastor keeps his mobile in his pocket and films his wife throughout the day and throws stones at their house when Dhanpal is away at work.

Speaking to the media Dhanpal’s wife Gandhimathi said, “He is trying to convert me. As I am not submitting to his demands he is resorting to abusing me in obscene language and filming me”. Missionaries use similar tactics where they cannot sway people with money, education, or health benefits. Badagas of the Nilgiris faces similar harassment for resisting attempts to convert them. Missionary fanatics would blast Christian songs in loudspeakers in the evenings and nights to disturb their children’s studies, especially during exam time.

The nomadic tribe of Kattu Nayakkars also faced similar threats in Madurai when they refused to convert. Their children were enticed with Biryani and other things when the parents leave them at home to go out for work. They were harassed with promises to make their life better if they convert, and pelted with stones when they refused.

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