Senior Citizen Pastor harassed by Police on conversion charges, Karnataka
On Monday, 20th May ’19, the Office of the Superintendent of Police, summoned senior citizen, Pastor M. D. Thomas and detained him from 11.30 am to 8.30 pm, for questioning, for his alleged involvement in religious conversion by “allurement”.
Pastor M. D. Thomas, has been ministering at ‘Agape Prayer Fellowship Church’ in Madhur Taluk of Mandya District of Karnataka for the past 20 years.
However, since January 2019, Pastor and his family have been facing a lot of resistance from the local residents, after they purchased a plot of land in Valagerahalli village Kengeri, Bangalore South Taluk, a few kilometers away from the current location.
Local villagers, influenced by religious fanatics, allegedly garnered support and secured signatures from 2 dozen people, accusing Pastor Thomas of indulging in proselytization. The Petition was apparently handed over to the Madhur Police Station, which preceded Pastor’s summons to the SP’s Office.
Police contended that they had received a complaint from around 50 people from village Valagerahalli, claiming that Pastor has been involved in conversion activities, of people from the ‘Gowda” community, instructing them not to wear the ‘bindi’ (saffron vermillion powder) on their forehead etc.
Speaking to Persecution Relief, Pastor’s wife, Sister Alice, confirmed that pastor had not visited the disputed village as he was manhandled and threatened by a few fanatics at that village, almost a year ago.
The Additional SP, personally visited the village 3 days ago and publicly reprimanded and humiliated Pastor Thomas in the presence of the villagers, alarming the villagers to keep away from the Church and not to provide any facilities to Pastor and his family. He also allegedly urged the villagers not to entertain or listen to any Preachers visiting the village.
While he was forced to submit a ‘written affidavit’ that he would not indulge in any conversion activities, no complaint copy was given to him.
The apparent ‘collusion’ of the Police authorities, is a cause for concern, as it emboldens the fanatics and extremists” in perpetrating crimes against members of religious minorities.
Church, pray for India’s Government officials and Police force, to enforce justice against perpetrators and provide equality for minorities.
Pray for Pastor Thomas, a Senior Citizen, who has had 2 heart attacks in the past, but is courageously preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Pray that he will continue to stand faithful, remain steadfast till the end.
Persecution Relief has recorded more than 477 persecution incidents in 2018, across the 29 states of India. The doors of a multitude of Churches have been sealed and scores arrested on false charges of indulging in conversion activities.
In 2019 we have already recorded more than 157 hate crime cases against Christians until April 2019.
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