A self-proclaimed pastor was heard talking of taking out a “Bharat Jodo” like yatra to convert people to Christianity. In a fake healing session organised by the pastor, Hindu women were proselytised to accept Christianity and convinced that “worshiping stones” is useless. The event was stopped on the third day after complaints.
Posters of a healing prayer session to be held on December 8 appeared across Baramati a few days before the event. They claimed to cure the sick and solve social and financial problems of the attendees through “prophetic meeting”. “This is God’s will that we come together in Christianity,” the posters said. The prayer meeting was organised by pastor Sunil Jadhav, a resident of Vasant nagar in Baramati. ‘Prophet’ Anish Vijagat, a self-proclaimed pastor. People assumed that it was an event for Christians, but an Opindia correspondence’s investigation revealed that Hindu women also attended the event and were lured to accept Christianity.
As per Opindia report which covered the 3-day event in detail, on the first day at the Mission High School, run by the Conference of Churches of Christ in Western India, pastor Jadhav said that they might organise a Bharat Jodo Yatra style rally to convert people across the country. He said, “Believe in Christianity. Believe in the existence of Jesus. Praise the Lord. If you change now then only you’ll be able to change several people across the country. You never know we might engage in a Bharat Jodo type of Yatra and make people staying across the country believe in Christianity. Praise the Lord”.
Preacher Mary who spoke after pastor Jadhav abused Hindus calling them fools for believing in pandits. She said, “Yeshu ka Darbaar re hume pyara lagat hai, Tere Darbar me kaun kaun aye, Pandit, Murakh, Gawar re hume pyara lagat hai”. While pastors were denigrating Hindu beliefs on the stage, their disciples on the ground were talking to newcomers, noticeably Hindu women, brainwashing them about Christianity.
They also abused Hindu deities saying, “God is invisible. We should feel him. And not worship the stones (murtis) as Hindus do. What is that stone going to understand? We, humans, are encircled with sins. To make our future generations free from sins, we must worship Jesus,” in an attempt to make Hindu dharma less attractive and Christianity more alluring to the gullible Hindu audience.
Amid the usual antics of ‘healing prayers’, pastor Anish Vijagat, chief guest of the event took the stage. This pastor claimed that he is a bishop and more than 300 pastors are working under him. He runs Glorious Evangelical Prophetic Ministries in Pune and preaches along with his wife. To show himself off as an important person he also claimed to be associated with the International Human Rights Council(IHRC) and Anti Corruption and Media Investigation. IHRC’s website doesn’t provide any details about the organisation. But the NGO darpan portal entry shows that one Sunny Shah is its president and one Nashit Afroj its General Secretary.
He claimed to be part of another NGO named Anti Corruption and Media Investigation as well. Locals revealed that pastor Vijagat started running a church on his own in the terrace of his house and has gained a considerable following. The last two days of the meeting were to be held in ‘Jyeshth Nagrik Sangh’, a kind of community hall. When Opindia correspondence contacted the Sangh to inquire about the event, they pleaded ignorance about conversion attempts saying that they had taken permission only to conduct a prayer meeting.
However, following this, the 3rd day of the event was canceled. In the first two days, toward the end of the sessions, a bag was passed to everyone to put in money. Poor people who went there looking for solutions to their issues were made to pay the pastors for their ‘free service’.
A short video on YouTube throws light on pastor Vijagat’s Glorious Evangelical Prophetic Ministry’s vision; to preach about the end time truth and prepare for the second coming of Jesus. Their mission is to make disciples and raise prophets and apostles. Vijagat calls his wife Julia who accompanies him in ministering as a Prophetess.
While these people appear funny at first look, the kind of things they are encouraging in the name of spirituality is very dangerous. Such people brainwash the masses into believing that no medical treatment is needed to heal diseases and make them rely solely on prayers to get cured. There have been numerous incidents of families, even medical professionals, praying in the hope of resurrecting a dead relative.
Such elements seem to have been emboldened by ultra-secular parties like NCP continuing to dominate the Baramati region. Poor people following them out of desperation due to poverty and lack of awareness will prove to be a malaise for society. It is no wonder that such people found motivation in Rahul Gandhi. After all, he met Catholic priest George Ponnaiah who denigrated Hindu deities and insulted Bharat Mata and stayed with him on church premises during so-called ‘Jodo’ yatra. He also met an association of evangelists in Nanded, Maharashtra who assured him that Christians across the country are praying for his victory and election as a PM and submitted a memorandum of demands.
It is only a coincidence that Rahul Gandhi, while staying in church-run institutions did not visit any temple in Tamil Nadu, only a few in Kerala, but started hopping from one temple to another in Madhya Pradesh, and went back to entertaining evangelists in Maharashtra during his ‘Jodo’ yatra. With such blatantly pro-evangelist politicians, it is little wonder that pastors want to convert everyone in Bharat and announce that intention frankly.