- A Pentecostal pastor of Tamil Nadu is in jail for two
days for having converted -
with her consent - a woman of 30 years. Members
of the Hindu nationalist
group Rashtriya Sawayamsevak
Sangh (RSS) accused the man of practicing forced conversions
and complained to the local police.
The arrested man is Rev. R. Reuben, pastor
of the End Time Church
of Gundur (suburb
of Trichy). This Pentecostal
Church was founded 30 years ago
and now has about 250 members. On 18 July,
the pastor administered baptism
to a woman of her community, who
had asked him to convert her to Christianity.
RSS activists denounced the episode to the inspector Siva
Subramanyam, of Srinangam police,
arguing that the river Cauvery - where she had been baptised - had been contaminated and that the pastor was
converting people by force.
At that point, the officers proceeded to
arrest the religious leader.
According to Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC),
what happened is yet
more evidence that "religious intolerance
in Tamil Nadu, when
perpetrated by Hindu extremists and nationalists,
becomes lawful if directed against the Christian minority."
In October 2002, the Government of Tamil Nadu introduced its anti-conversion
law. The decree was canceled in
May 2004, one month after the defeat in the state elections of the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), the Hindu nationalist party that supports extremist groups like the RSS. (NC)