10/17/2011, 00.00
INDIA
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Kerala, U.S. evangelical pastor arrested for taking part in prayer festival

by Nirmala Carvalho
William Lee violated the rules of his tourist visa, which prohibits participation in religious events. He risks expulsion. Sajan K George, President of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC): "The police acted to please the Hindu ultra-nationalist forces in the country. Only Christians suffer such treatment. "
Mumbai (AsiaNews) - "The moral police, ethnic violence and the selective arrest of evangelical Christians bear clear witness to the failure of secular institutions in India” says Sajan K George, President of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), commenting on the arrest of American Evangelical Pastor William Lee, guilty of having participated in a religious event, thus violating the rules of the tourist visa to AsiaNews. After a manhunt lasting 48 hours, Kerala police took Lee from his hotel room on the night of October 14 last.

William Lee was in India on a tourist visa to attend the Musical Splash 2011, a festival of prayer held in the Jawaharlal international stadium in Kaloor (Kochi). The evangelical pastor now risks expulsion, but his lawyer points out that he has not violated any Indian law.

"Hundreds of tourists in India have always participated in various religious and public events - Sajan K George said. “None have ever been touched and have been able to go wherever they want without any restrictions. Lee only attended a music festival organized by the Faith Leaders Church of Lords, of Tiruvalla. "

According to the GCIC president, several sources "indicate that the police hunted Lee down as if he were a terrorist, to please the ultra-nationalist forces of the country."

"Those who enter with a tourist visa - said Sajan George - are prohibited from conducting any religious practice. But, then, these rules apply only to the Christian prayers? The Baha'i religion other forms of religions are exempt from this government legislation? ".

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