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Friday, June 2, 2023

Assam court punishes Hindu head priest for preventing religious conversions by Christian Evangelists

In a first of firsts, the head priest of a satra at the hub of Vaishnavite culture in Assam is facing criminal charges for doing his Dharmic duty. On August 1st, Prashant Payeng of Jorhat, Assam had filed a complaint against Janardan Deva Goswami, the head priest of Dakshinpat Ashromi, accusing him of preventing religious conversions and preventing the spread of Christianity in Majuli. 

On receiving the compliant, the local court inquired the matter by examining the complainant and some witnesses on August 14th and August 30th, respectively. The case was heard by the judiciary and the judgement was ruled against the priest. Bail was granted only on September 25th.

When approached, Goswami expressed his utter dismay at the proceedings, “It is very unfortunate that I have been charged for my work done for the protection of my culture and religion. I believe it is my duty to protect my culture and religion at this ancient seat of Vaishnavite culture.” 

He further added that he had appeared before the court when summoned and is committed to comply with the orders of the court. Incidentally, Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal is the MLA from Majuli constituency.  

We tried to delve deeper into this case in search of more details; we wondered if the head priest was violent in his approach of resisting the encroachment by Christian missionaries into the Vaishnavite culture, and we were keen to know if the Hindu priest had employed hate or hate speech against  Christians, missionaries, or Christianity as a whole, while resisting its proliferation in Majuli.

Despite a thorough search, we found no account of physical or verbal hate instigated by Goswami ji at the missionaries or those they wished to convert. This leaves us wondering, what aspect of the head priest’s behavior constituted the sentence pronounced by the court. 

Earlier this year, a Christian missionary was caught on camera, screaming anti-Hindu slurs, standing right in front of the Adiyogi statue at Isha Yoga Center, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.  “Neither Yoga, nor Yogi can liberate you from sins, only Jesus can,” he was heard yelling in a state of hysterical frenzy. 

In September 2018, Mohan Lazarus, a Christian preacher denigrated Hindu temples calling them, “Satan’s strongholds”. The preacher, who is also the owner of Tamil television channel Sathiyam TV, is infamous for his habitual and repeated derogatory remarks against Hindu Dharma. Back in April this year, a Goan priest had called the BJP President, Amit Shah, a ‘devil’ and added that god ‘punished’ late Manohar Parrikar with cancer.

A video clip of Bishop Ezra Sargunam, a controversial evangelist from Tamil Nadu went viral on various social media platforms. The video captured him calling for violence against Hindus. He was seen addressing a sizeable audience, and through his speech, instigating them to, ‘Punch (the Hindus) in their face couple of times, make them bleed and help them understand the truth,” adding for good measure that “There is nothing called as a Hindu Religion.” 

However, neither were any of the above evangelists arrested, nor any criminal proceedings carried out against them and their incessant venom-spewing against 80% of the country’s population. 

On the other hand, a Hindu priest is held guilty by a court of law, for merely protecting his culture and faith from the vulture-eyes of evangelists in Assam. This reminds us of the brutal murder of Ramalingam in Tamil Nadu. The ex-PMK man was seen getting into a discussion with a group of Muslim men who were proselytizing Islam in his localityRamalingam lost his life at the hands of those radical Islamists for merely defending his faith against malicious proselytization, and the head priest, Goswami, lost his dignity at the hands of our judicial system for the same cause.

Neither of them were offenders, they were not the ones rolling out hate or hate-filled messages. But both ended up losing. Guess they were penalized for being Hindus in a Hindu majority country, Bharat. 

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