Thursday, July 14, 2005

Christian couple harassed by Hindu Activists in Rajasthan


A Christian couple running an ashram for tribal children in Mount Abu, Rajasthan are being harassed by Hindu activists. They are also involved in translating the Bible for the tribals living in the area.

The couple, Vickie Patel and Dinesh Patel belonging to IEM inMount Abu area run an ashram for 11 tribal children, taking care of their education. They have been working in the area for the last 25 years.

They stay in a house belonging to IP Mission Trust (IrishPresbyterian). It so happened that one day a stranger approached them, claiming that the house they were staying in was his property. He said there was a legal case between him and the trust and the trust had won the case.

When the stranger started to create problems, the matter went to the local police. As part of probing the case, the police questioned the couple about their identity. The couple disclosed themselves as Christian missionaries. Following this, the stranger brought in antisocial elements, some belonging to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to get the couple evicted.

They spread the word around that the couple was involved in converting the tribal children. Under pressure from the Hindu activists, the police enquired from the parents of the tribal children to know more about the couple. Although the parents gave them a good report about the couple's activities, the Circle Inspector called the missionaries to his office and allegedly beat them up. He then warned them that they would be in trouble if they continued with their missionary activities. The incident also found its way into the local press, with some of them reporting that the missionaries were indulging in conversion activities.