why 10 Europeans were arrested and deported | Media Pyro


Last month, the Assam Police arrested and deported 10 foreigners.

On October 26, police arrested three Swedish nationals in Namrup, a tea plantation town in upper Assam’s Dibrugarh district. Police claimed they violated immigration rules by speaking at a religious gathering. Director General of Police (Law and Order) GP Singh also said that the police had heard that “Christians were sending people to tea gardens and tribal areas” so they “notified the intelligence” and arrested the Swedish visit.

Later on October 28, the Assam Police arrested seven Germans for “involvement in missionary activities in violation of visa regulations”. Singh said Germany does not have M1 visas or missionaries that allow religious activities. All 10 foreign visitors were fined 500 dollars before being deported.

While the official charges involve visa violations, so do the police investigating whether they intended to convert people Christianity.

Police also arrested two people who had invited Germany to religious ceremonies in Assam – 35-year-old Mukut Bodra, an Adivasi tourist guide from Jharkhand, and 55-year-old Bornabas Terang, a church leader, from Dolamara area of ​​Karbi. Anlong District. According to police officials, they wanted to make “massive changes” in the region.

He was charged under several sections of the Indian Penal Code, including Section 153A (promoting enmity between religious groups), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 295A (outraging religious sentiments).

Assam has no anti-conversion laws, unlike several other Indian states that criminalize what they call forced conversion.

Right-wing Hindu groups used events to push for this law. According to Balen Baishya, the general secretary of Biswa Hindu Mahasangha Assam, this was not the first time foreigners came to Assam to convert people to Christianity. It was held this time, Baishya said, because of the “toughness” of the state government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Tea and faith

Christian organizations in Assam point to the fact that Christianity entered the state in the 1600s. But it was in the 19th century when missionaries became a more established presence in the region.

When the colonial administration established tea plantations, he encouraged lectures to spread the faith in the local community. The Christians of Assam established schools and spread throughout the state.

The colonial government also brought Adivasi workers from the lands of Chhota Nagpur, in present day Jharkhand, to the tea plantations. After generations of working the land, these communities became known as tea tribes, some of whom converted to Christianity.

The post-independence governments did not seem to disturb the work of Christian organizations either. According to a Guwahati-based Christian organization, which did not want to be identified, there has been no police action – until now.

The seven Germans who were deported last month were from the Lutheran Church which visits Assam every year. “They have a lot of humanitarian projects,” said a priest in Karbi Anglong district who declined to be named. “Like distribution, social sector projects and education. Every year they come for regular checks.”

This year, they are said to have visited Margherita, Tinsukia and Karbi Anglong districts.

One German tourist told News Live TV not to “spread any gospel”. “We visited churches and celebrated with Christians,” he said. “That’s it. We didn’t do anything else.”

‘Harried’ by the authorities

The spokesperson of the Christian organization based in Guwahati also denied the allegations that they tried to convert.

“Will foreigners visiting Hindu temples also be turned away?” he demanded. “These are serious allegations that are coming, and we are surprised. The police are telling the media that there are accusations of conversion. What happened when the German group met the Christians and when two Christian groups met? If the religion happened, people don’t. come with [who have been converted].”

A Baptist priest from Karbi Anglong district, who did not want to be identified for fear of police action, blamed the suppression of Hindutva politics by the BJP government.

Details and foreign tourists have visited the region and participated in religious meetings before, he said, without any questions being asked and without being arrested by the authorities.

“This is their time and their rule, so they will do everything possible to make India a Hindu nation,” he said, referring to the BJP government. “Since 2014, the number of attacks against Muslims and Christians has been increasing. Everything is related.” The year 2014 was when the BJP came to power at the centre.

The Pope claimed he was also under surveillance, as security agencies looked for loopholes to “extort” local Christians. Despite the outcry about conversion in Assam, he pointed out, Christians accounted for about 3% of the state’s population.

“They are trying to stop the conversion of Assam,” said the priest. “Even if there is an anti-conversion law, the Indian constitution provides for freedom of speech, belief and [religious] act on it. I can find no reason to fine or detain foreigners.”

‘Upper Assam is finished’

While talking to news channels on October 31, Singh said that the district police officers were instructed to keep watch on religious congregations attended by foreigners, since they are not allowed to do so without a missionary visa. He also said that proselytizing, or proselytizing, is banned from all visa types, including missionary visas.

When asked if visa violations are increasing, Singh said, “If you look [at] it’s like cases that rise or if [it is] The government and the police being proactive – that’s a choice you have to make.”

Although the administration may show that it is taking strict action against alleged conversions, Hindutva groups and websites occasionally raise alarm about the spread of Christianity in Assam.

Take Baishya, who spoke of the “aggression” of Christian missionaries. “The speed of converting people from other religions to Christianity is more dangerous than Islamic jihad,” he said. “Upper Assam is finished.”

However, he did not provide data to support his claims about the rapid change. However, his organization has been pressing for the Anti-Conversion Act in Assam. “If the conversion bill is not passed in the state assembly, indigenous Hindus will not live in Assam,” he said.

As a caveat, Baishya added that his organization is only against “forced” conversion, not against anyone who converts voluntarily.

A wounded society

The spokesperson of the Christian organization spoke about how the rumors and accusations are unfair to the Christian community living in Assam.

He pointed out that the Baptist missionaries have done a lot to preserve the Assamese language in the region, for which the larger Assamese community should be grateful.

“Ambassadors are not only coming to Assam now,” he said. “They have been coming since the 1600s. Today, they make a fuss and cry about the missionaries coming, but they ignore their role in education and health.”


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