According to the reports, Legal Rights Protection Forum (LRPF) has flagged a web of illegal activities of Christian organisation ‘Serve India Ministries’, including nefarious activities of illegal conversions of poor Hindus using deceit, hate speech, enticements and FCRA violations. Ebenezer Samuel is the head of Serve India Ministries and it is based in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.
This comes just weeks after a complaint was filed against Christian organisation ‘Gospel for Tribals Social Service Society’ for indulging in illegal conversions, hate speech against Hindus and FCRA fraud.
In a complaint letter to MHA, the LRPF has accused Ebenezer Samuel, the head of Serve India Ministries and his NGO of being inimical to communal harmony, a multi-religious, multi-ethnic society of India. The evangelist Samuel is also accused of indulging in large scale conversions using inducements, allurements, magic remedies, the threat of incurring divine displeasure.
Meet Mr. Ebnezer Samuel, Chief Functionary, Serve India Ministries (FCRA: 75850282), Coimbatore,TN.— Legal Rights Protection Forum (@lawinforce) May 25, 2020
Filed complaint with Union Home Affairs for violating FCRA Rules, Hate Speech against Hindus and Christian Conversions targeting Hindu Children, Women & innocent Tribal people. pic.twitter.com/jYcnZk0HGZ
Financial irregularities including FCRA violations
In its complaint to the MHA, the LRPF has stated that the organisation has filed different tax returns in India and USA, raising suspicion regarding its expenditure. According to the LRPF, this is a deliberate attempt by the Serve India Ministries to hide the evangelist activities, church planting and conversion activities carried out by them.
For example, the NGO has claimed tax exemption in its USA IRS Tax Return Form 990 of 2007, citing activities like church planting, spreading of Gospel, child sponsorship programs, training, educational programs, etc. The Christian NGO has also filed similar tax returns in its 2018 USA tax returns and has mentioned similar reasons as its programme accomplishments.
The LRPF documents revealed that the NGO has filed no FCRA returns in India since 2010-11, however, it has been filing tax returns in the USA from the year 2007 onwards. Interestingly, the NGO has also received an amount of Rs 2.76 crores in 2012-13 towards the celebration of National Festivals.
Further, the documents showed that for the last 4 years the NGO was investing substantial part of FCRA proceeds in fixed deposits and deriving interest from the same. To attract prospective donors, Serve India Ministries has produced 8 videos in a DVD and a book with 30 stories from India – “Journey Through India: A 30 Day Spiritual Adventure”. These were distributed for free abroad but not available to India, says the LRPF letter.
Hate speech and Church planting
In a speech delivered, the evangelist Ebenezer Samuel openly confesses of being involved in planting churches among the Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and various other religious groups.
Similarly, in various other evangelical speeches, Ebenezer Samuel has made numerous references to church planting in Hindu villages. He has also bragged about how successful he has been in converting Hindus into Christianity.
As per the Organiser report, in a video, Ebenezer was introduced as “80 % of India is Hindu and only 3.2 % are Christians. However, one man is determined to change that statistic forever”. The NGO spread propaganda to Hindus regarding miracle cures with the power of Jesus. And the gullible Hindus, especially in rural areas who are suffering from health, family or financial problems fall into Ebenezer Samuel’s trap.
Shockingly, the Hindus are referred to as being in “Bondage of Satan for Millenniums”, “Unsaved People”, “Unreached People”. The NGO also pushes narratives such as Hindu gods are “dead gods”, “far way gods”, who are constantly referred to as ‘cruel, revengeful, constantly looking out to pour out their wrath’ on their followers.
“Whenever a Hindu faces a problem, he has to figure out which of the 33 million gods he or she worships has become angry and then do Pooja to appease that angry Hindu god. Hindus are oppressed by their own Gods!” reads NGO’s anti-Hindu agenda as per the report.
According to the complainant, the above anti-Hindu narrative is a clear offence under section 508 of IPC which covers “Act caused by inducing person to believe that he will be rendered an object of the Divine displeasure”.
NGO uses young children to illegal conversions
The LRPF complaint further accused the NGO of committing violations by employing minor children to push for illegal conversions. Under the garb of conducting after school free tuitions, children are forced to go through Christian prayers, Gospel preaching, praying for Jesus etc., the NGO has carried out projects such as “Stepping Stones” and “The Egg Project”.
Reportedly, the “Stepping Stones” has four steps – Education, Hygiene, Prayer, Bible Stories and Gospel. This programme is one of the most important contributors of funds to the NGO from abroad.
The Christian NGO solicits funds from their prospective donors in the USA and elsewhere by marketing these programmes. In most of the speeches of Ebenezer Samuel and the videos of the NGO, reportedly, there are constant references to this method of converting Hindus.
The NGO, to attract young children, provides eggs for free. The NGO even have a special programme to convert to Christianity families of farmers who have committed suicide.
Through another programme, Vacation Bible School, the NGO tries to prey on non-Christian children to convert them to Christianity. According to the NGO, they are conducting VBS for 20,000 children each year with the explicit purpose of exposing such children to Christianity.
In videos and speeches of the NGO, Ebenezer Samuel has shared numerous testimonies of children “Accepting Jesus” and has claimed that their parents are doing well following their conversion to Christianity.
NGO has committed various illegal activities
In addition to illegal conversion, FCRA violations, the NGO – Serve India Ministries is also accused of many other illegal activities. According to LRPF, the NGO is using Dalits in the country as a bait for their conversion activities. In almost all the speeches of the NGO Serve India Ministries, there are references to “Dalits” and “atrocities on Dalits” by other caste Hindus. The NGO also repeatedly claims the government of India as being anti-Christian and pro-Hindu.
The NGO has also continued to conduct its conversion activities even in states that have passed the Freedom of Religion Act, which bans such illegal conversions. However, Ebenezer Samuel has been on record to confess that he has been doing evangelism, church planting and conversion in such states.
Further, the NGO is also accused of violation of Visa norms as many of its foreign preachers arrive in India on tourist Visas and indulge in conversion activities.
Given such illegal activities and FCRA violations of Serve India Ministries, the LRPF has requested to Home Ministry to immediately freeze all FCRA revenues and also the designated bank account. The complainant has also demanded a detailed enquiry into the evangelism, illegal conversion, miracle healing activities of the NGO.
The LRPF has also demanded an enquiry into the assets of Serve India Ministries and personal assets of Ebenezer Samuel.
A similar complaint against another NGO by the LRPF
The Legal Rights Protection Forum (LRPF) had also filed a similar complaint against Christian organisation ‘Gospel for Tribals Social Service Society’ headed by Bishop Jacob Marineni recently for violating the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) and also for indulging in religious conversions through allurement among tribals in Telangana.
The complaint was filed 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.
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.