At the beginning of September 2019, an evangelist event was illegally organised in a school in Worli, Mumbai by New Life Fellowship mission which was exposed by a Bajrang Dal activist.
The Child Rights Commission, which had earlier taken cognisance of this incident and issued a letter to the Commissioner of Police, Mumbai on the Worli incident has now issued a second notice to Mumbai police to lodge an FIR and investigate the suspected torture on a juvenile which transpired during the course of the event.
Worli Christian program @NCPCR_ ordered @CPMumbaiPolice to lodge FIR n investigation of torture of juvenile/woman screaming due to suspected torture.
New Life Fellowship Association had arranged it n #BajrangDal called police to stop it. This is 2nd notice to @MumbaiPolice pic.twitter.com/0sGoRWUCKt
— Legal Rights Observatory- LRO (@LegalLro) September 16, 2019
The second letter issued by NCPCR says that this letter was in continuation to letter issued to Mumbai police dated September 3. In this letter, the commission said that a CD containing video recordings of the Evangelist program arranged in Mumbai School had been enclosed for the Mumbai Police’s reference. It further reads that the commission has also taken cognisance of the video in relation to the earlier complaint forwarded and requested Mumbai police to file an FIR as per provisions of law and investigate the said video in relation to the complaint.
NCPCR has asked Mumbai police to submit an action taken report to the commission in the next 7 working days from the date of receipt of the letter.
The Child Rights Commission had issued the first notice to the Commissioner of Police, Mumbai on the Worli incident on September 3, 2019.
The letter then issued by NCPCR said that prima facie, it looked like the event violated Article 28 (3) of the Indian Constitution and hence, the police is requested to investigate the matter. The letter then too mentioned that a report must be given to the Commission within 7 working days and that the report should include statements from the students and parents who attended the said activity.
Article 28 (3) of the Indian Constitution states, “No person attending any educational institution recognised by the State or receiving aid out of State funds shall be required to take part in any religious instruction that may be imparted in such institution or to attend any religious worship that may be conducted in such institution or in any premises attached thereto unless such person or, if such person is a minor, his guardian has given his consent thereto Cultural and Educational Rights”.
NCPCR had in its first letter to the Mumbai police also spoken about the video in which a juvenile participating in the same program was screaming due to unknown reasons. “We suspect that the unknown juvenile present at the venue is either being exposed to inhuman torture or beating or sexual harassment which made her scream/ cry in deep pain for help”, had read the letter.
NCPCR had taken cognisance of the illegal event after Legal Rights Observatory, an activist group, on 2nd September, lodged a complaint with National Commission for Protection of Child’s Rights and raised an issue regarding the event being held in school premises. In its complaint, it stated: On September 1, 2019, The New Life Fellowship mission, an evangelist group has arranged a program at Mumbai Municipal School, Worli Mumbai.
Legal Rights Observatory had further said that the event came under the ‘Black Magic Act’ and was not merely a prayer meeting.
However, in its effort to subtly further the agenda that the Christian prayer meet was disrupted due to hate, the Mumbai Mirror had published a report on September 4th 2019, headlined “Bajrang Dal workers barge into Christian Prayer meet at Worli School” which detailed how activists from Bajrang Dal ‘disrupted’ an ‘innocent prayer meet’ being held inside the school premises. The report had claimed that Bajrang Dal suspected that the prayer meeting was a front for religious conversion and after they barged in, the first video recorded the event and then, called the police.