Villagers allege ‘forced conversions’ in Greater Noida, pastors questioned

Joseph alleged that members of the RSS had incited villagers at Kulesra through false allegations of forced conversions.

Written by Aniruddha Ghosal | Greater Noida | Published:August 31, 2014 2:12 am
 While pastors were questioned at Surajpur police station, various Hindu groups protested  outside on Saturday. (Source: Express photo by Gajendra yadav) While pastors were questioned at Surajpur police station, various Hindu groups protested outside on Saturday. (Source: Express photo by Gajendra yadav)

At least 10 Christian pastors were brought in for questioning to Surajpur Police station in Greater Noida on Saturday over allegations that they were “forcefully converting Hindus to Christianity”. Soon after their detention, the police station was surrounded by protesters from various Hindu groups.

Christian community leaders in Greater Noida said allegations of forced conversion had been trumped up and were aimed at creating mistrust in the district.

The Gautam Buddh Nagar police said the 10 pastors were allegedly participating in a fasting ritual, which was not connected to religious conversion, at Kulesra village.

But, SP (Rural) Brijesh Kumar Singh said since they had received complaints from villagers, the matter would be investigated. Police said no FIR had been filed yet.

Meanwhile, protests outside the police station reflected the growing communal tension in the area.

Reverend Wilson Joseph, president of the Calvary Ashram Seva Sangh, has been working in Uttar Pradesh since 1992 and has been in Greater Noida for the past 12 years.

“I have never seen this kind of communal tension. We are not even being able to get close to Surajpur police station. Some members of our church, who went there, were beaten up. We will file a complaint once the mob clears,” he alleged.

Joseph alleged that members of the RSS had incited villagers at Kulesra village through false allegations of forced conversions.
Sources indicated that police initially intended to let the pastors go after questioning, but the protests outside the police station made that difficult.

Police denied that the incident had sparked off communal tension in the area. “There were allegations made that these Christian pastors were forcing people to convert. Police brought them in for questioning. We will be investigating the matter,” Singh said.

Police sources said tension had been brewing in the area for the past few months, with rumours doing the rounds that Hindus, especially
Dalits, were being converted forcibly. But, police said they had no evidence to corroborate the rumours.

“The allegations of conversions are primarily regarding the Dalit community, which is the poorest. Many convert because they think that they will be able to escape caste-based biases. Others think that there will be financial benefits of such a conversion,” Singh said.

However, minority activists alleged that rumours of “forced conversions” were being spread with the intent of spreading communal tension to reap political dividends. “Hindu organisations connected to the RSS and VHP are spreading tension based on the propagation of their ideology that Christianity is inherently alien,” John Dayal, civil rights activist, alleged.

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  1. B
    BongDude
    Aug 31, 2014 at 9:47 am
    Get your facts right Bonkim, it was islam which annihilated Buddhism from India. By destroying their Monastaries and of course their favourite weapon Forced conversions...
    Reply
    1. G
      guest
      Sep 7, 2014 at 10:21 pm
      RSS was not involved. Xtian fanatics are blaming them witnout evidence for political gains.
      Reply
      1. A
        Aizen
        Aug 31, 2014 at 3:50 pm
        beat the pastors to death
        Reply
        1. G
          Guest
          Aug 31, 2014 at 8:48 am
          Wow Indian Express is not publishing my comment in which i requested all to wait till police completes its probe and also made one remark against right wing organizations..wow RIP freedom of expression..
          Reply
          1. G
            Guest
            Aug 31, 2014 at 8:48 am
            ok
            Reply
            1. V
              Venk
              Aug 31, 2014 at 8:54 am
              By forced conversion and Hindu bigotry.
              Reply
              1. V
                Venk
                Aug 31, 2014 at 8:56 am
                Christianity is a faith - not culture.
                Reply
                1. V
                  Venk
                  Aug 31, 2014 at 8:53 am
                  Indians are getting to be intolerant and bigoted towards people of other religions. Religion or not having one is an individual's choice and not for others to interfere with.
                  Reply
                  1. V
                    Venk
                    Aug 31, 2014 at 8:55 am
                    and exploitation of Dalits, women, children, and the weak.
                    Reply
                    1. R
                      Ravi
                      Aug 31, 2014 at 8:25 pm
                      Mr Tyagi - I wish to remind you that most of the teachers who impart education in so called Christian schools are Hindus - not Christians- Get your facts right you Moron!!!
                      Reply
                      1. S
                        sekhars
                        Sep 1, 2014 at 3:05 am
                        Christian and Islam are both real issues in the world. You are also wrong on saying that they created education. Indian education was much advance many centuries ago compare to West. India produced over 25% GDP of the world in 1700-1800 and they were destro by the Britishers.Language like english is not needed to be development. Many nations have done better than US despite not using english.
                        Reply
                        1. C
                          CN
                          Aug 31, 2014 at 3:34 am
                          The thirteen pastors and some women were picked up while peacefully fasting at a Christian's home. From there they were dragged while being beaten up to the police station at Surajpur. The police was kept under pressure from Hindu groups so that they could not let the Christians go because the police did not see anything in which to implicate them. This is how Uttar Pradesh is becoming the next Gujarat. Minorities are being put up against Dalits systematically and hatred is being sowed for electoral gains. The administration is a mute spectator and the politicians are reaping the benefits. Meanwhile the pastors are still in Jail and waiting to be let out. It is a shame that things have come to this in India.
                          Reply
                          1. D
                            Deepak
                            Sep 2, 2014 at 5:42 am
                            Buddhism that was the religion of majority of Indians until 8th century. It is not now. How did it happen and another religion become majority? Was it because all Buddhists committed suicide or they converted to the present day majority religion?
                            Reply
                            1. D
                              Deepak
                              Aug 31, 2014 at 6:38 am
                              Buddhism was the majority religion in India. How was it changed?
                              Reply
                              1. D
                                Deepak
                                Sep 2, 2014 at 8:51 am
                                Buddhism was the religion of the majority of Indians rill 8th century. Now it is not. What happened to all its people? Did they commit suicide or converted to any other religion? If converted, to which religion did they convert?
                                Reply
                                1. D
                                  Deepak
                                  Aug 31, 2014 at 1:07 pm
                                  Deformation!? -Same can be said about any religion. Isn't Hinduism deformed? Isn't Christianity deformed? Isn't Islam deformed?And how do you ess it deformed? Females enjo equal status! Can you find one quote of Buddha that prefer men over women. There are a lot of female monks in Buddha's period and Ashoka's period. But this observation very well shows the deformation of the present day religions,alas!Even then how Buddhism lost people? All of them committed suicide? Or they converted to another religion?
                                  Reply
                                  1. D
                                    Deepak
                                    Aug 31, 2014 at 1:09 pm
                                    It was not Muslims. Buddhists were tortured and Annihilated by Brahminic believers during 8th and 9th century CE. Muslims came to India only in the 11th century. There are mentions in books like Dhammapada, Hieun Tsang etc. about it. More than 4 million of Buddhists were estimated to be tortured. Only one incident, destruction of the remnants of Nalanda is attributed to Muslim rulers, which is to Qutab Uddin. By then 90% of annihilation was over.
                                    Reply
                                    1. D
                                      Deepak
                                      Sep 1, 2014 at 5:59 am
                                      No. Buddhism was the prime religion in Kalinga (Odisha), Somapura-Jagaddala area (old Bengal), Vijayanagara (Andhra), Madurai (Tamil Nadu) and Kranganore (Kerala), all in South and East India too. Can you tell me who invaded India during the period of after 700 AD and before 950 AD?
                                      Reply
                                      1. D
                                        Deepak
                                        Sep 2, 2014 at 6:46 am
                                        So your source of information is wikipedia! Wiki may be used for preliminary info only. You need to read good books like all Collins, A.K. Anand, S.R. Goyal, Akira Hirakawa, Hiuan Tsang, B.R. Ambedkar, A.K. Warder etc.
                                        Reply
                                        1. D
                                          Deepak
                                          Sep 1, 2014 at 6:00 am
                                          Someone please give me an answer for my question in the last paragraph.
                                          Reply
                                          1. D
                                            Deepak
                                            Aug 31, 2014 at 6:37 am
                                            What is the fabric of hindustan? Caste discrimination, hatred towards minorities, untouchability?
                                            Reply
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