Friday, September 12, 2014
Christian bodies move court against ban in Bastar
Christian bodies in Chhattisgarh have moved the Bilaspur High Court against the ban on the entry of non-Hindu religious missionaries in the State’s Bastar region.
In June, over 50 Gram Panchayats in Bastar had passed orders under Section 129(G) of the Chhattisgarh Panchayat Raj Act banning “all non-Hindu religious propaganda, prayers and speeches in the villages.”
“The High Court issued notices to the Chhattisgarh government and the Bastar district collector on Monday over the petition filed by the Chhattisgarh Christian Forum and the pastor of Sirisguda village in Bastar. The court has given the authorities three weeks’ time to respond,” said advocate N.L. Soni, who represented the Christian bodies in court, speaking to The Hindu.
“Our main contention is how anybody on Indian soil can refuse entry to Indians. Nobody can stop the entry of religious missionaries under any law,” said CCF president Arun Pannalal.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad, however, has demanded strict implementation of the ban.
“We welcome that they [Christian bodies] have moved court. They will accept the law at least in this way. The ban was imposed by local Gram Panchayats to protect their heritage and culture. I don’t think the Christian bodies should have any problem with that,” said VHP Bastar district president Suresh Yadav.
Mr. Yadav claimed that 10 more Gram Panchayats in Bastar had passed the resolution under the CPR Act in the last one month, the latest being Erikpal and Parapur villages.
“Religious conversions are creating tension in Bastar’s villages and if the villagers want to stop it using an Act, then we support such efforts. The VHP’s role has only been in an advisory capacity and it will continue its work around people’s awareness,” said Mr. Yadav, adding that VHP office-bearers would meet the Governor and the Chief Minister to seek strict implementation of the ban.
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