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Forced conversion of tribals, orphan children, FCRA and visa rules violations: LRPF files complaint against Christian evangelical organisation

As per the complaint by LRPF, the CEO of the NGO has been involved in the forceful religious conversion of minors and adults into Christianity by alluring and threatening poor tribals of incurring divine wrath if they do not convert.

A complaint has been filed against Christian organisation ‘Gospel for Tribals Social Service Society’ headed by Bishop Jacob Marineni for violating the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) and also for indulging in religious conversions through allurement among tribals in Telangana.

The complaint has been filed by Legal Rights Protection Forum (LRPF) with the Ministry of Home Affairs against the organisation for actively involved in religious conversions of innocent Janjatis (tribals) in agency areas of Khammam District in Telangana, reports Organiser.
 
According to the reports, an investigation carried out by the LRPF has found that the Christian organisation has violated the FCRA by establishing a poultry farm using foreign funds. The accused Evangelical organisation’s preachers have also been allegedly involved in communal speeches against Hindus and Hindu customs at several international platforms, the complaint said.

The findings by the stated that the Christian NGO has broadly violated FCRA by indulging in hate speech against Hindus, violation of Indian visa rules and illegal conversions which are punishable under Indian laws.

Violation under FCRA

According to LRPF, the organisation has been running a commercial poultry layer farm of huge capacity and funds for the same has been obtained through FCRA. The NGO has been utilising profits from these commercial activities for evangelical and conversion activities, which is a serious violation under section 8(1)(a) of FCRA Act, 2010.
 
The complaint stated the NGO had received funds only for “Educational and Social” purposes until 2013-14. However, the funds have not been utilised either for the stated objectives of the NGO or the purpose for which the donation was received under FCRA.

Instead, the complainant alleged that the NGO has used the funds for constructing commercial poultry farms, planting churches, training Christian religious preachers, unethical conversions and acquiring huge fixed assets.
 
Strangely, every year, the NGO in question has been spending huge sums to acquire physical assets like land/buildings etc., while very little is being spent on the stated objectives of the association and for the purpose for which funds are being obtained from other countries. The NGO has been buying/selling land on a regular basis.

A close look at their account has revealed diversion of huge fund flows and the complain has demanded an investigation to look into transactions and accounts of the NGO for the last 15 years.

Funds utilised for conversion activities

Even though the NGO claims to be serving thousands of people, their expenditure portrayed a different story as most of the funds are allegedly being spent on construction of buildings, payment of salaries to Christian religious preachers apart from the commercial activity of layer poultry farm. In 2018-19 alone, Rs 4.12 crore was incurred expenditure on the salary of Christian religious preachers, while in the past, expenditure on widows/ leprosy patients/old age home was just Rs 10 lakhs per annum.

In addition to that, the NGO claims to be running 29 orphanages with more than 6000 orphans in various states. However, as per the complain, there is no proof for the same or it could not be independently verified. The NGO has received over Rs 1 crore in FCRA funds each year but has not displayed data regarding receipts/utilisation of the same in the public domain, which is a clear violation of FCRA Rule -13.

Anti-Hindu communal speeches by Bishop

Reportedly, Bishop Jacob, the chief of the NGO has made highly derogatory statements about the country, about Hindus, tribals and their customs in order to raise funds for his activities. The constant fear-mongering by the Bishop by making false claims of Hindus burning churches, killing Christians has also been recorded. Bishop Jacob has toured extensively in most European countries and USA and allegedly made hate speeches and derogatory remarks in several languages.

According to the complaint by LRPF, the NGO indulges in communal speeches in its fund-raising speeches, where a lot of anti-India, anti- Hindu statements are made. 
 
In its complaint, LRPF also alleged that the NGO has indulged in large scale conversions by inducement and allurement of orphans, poorer sections of the society, preaching of Gospel, planting churches. The NGO has also created a huge team of foot-soldiers to induce people into converting into Christianity.
 
The Organiser report further states that the videos and speeches of Bishop Jacob Marineni revealed that all the orphans shown in the videos have been converted to Christianity and are forced to sing gospel, bible verses before being served food.

Illegal conversions of tribal population and violation of Visa rules

The NGO has also claimed to be training minor children as ‘Bible Graduates’, conducting thousands of conversions to Christianity, planting thousands of churches in several states. Nearly 1500 churches, 1100 missionaries and 2,00,000 people are being converted to Christianity, but none of these activities has been registered by the NGO in Govt. of India, Darpan NGO website.

Violating visa rules, the Christian organisation is allegedly bringing foreign nationals on a tourist visa to preach the gospel in India and also allowing them to convert, indulge baptism activities. According to the complaint, this is a clear violation of visa rules.
 
Under the garb of helping orphans, widows, leprosy patients, this NGO has set up an elaborate network of foot soldiers, prayer houses for indulging in the massive conversion of non-Christians into Christianity. The speeches made by the Bishops and his foot soldiers have clearly exposed their hatred and disdain for Hindu religion and its followers.
 
As per the complaint by LRPF, the CEO of the NGO has been involved in the forceful religious conversion of minors and adults into Christianity by alluring and threatening poor tribals of incurring divine wrath if they do not convert. The NGO is also accused of giving wrong annual declaration that they did not participate in such activities, which was a clear violation of Clause 4(a)(ii) of Section 12 of FCRA Act, 2010 points out LRPF.

In view of the violations and illegal actions of the NGO, LRPF has requested the Union government to take strict action against the organisation and inspection of its facilities and activities. The LRPF has requested to investigate the NGO and freeze all their bank accounts.

In its complaint, the LRPF has demanded a thorough investigation to look into the activities of the NGO in the country and also asked the government to prosecute the key members of the NGO for indulging in activities aimed at forced conversion.
 

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