After refusing permission for an annual Christian gathering in Jobat, Alirajpur, the Madhya Police have served a notice on the organiser asking whether his organisation was involved in terror, criminal or anti-social activities among other things.
Jhabua-based Moksha Foundation had organised a gathering in Jobat from October 6-9, but the Alirajpur administration refused permission because a marriage between a Christian man and a Hindu woman had caused communal tension.
On Tuesday, foundation president Kapil Sharma was asked by the police to fill up personal information like name, address, passport number and political association among 20 points listed in a one-page document.
The second document sought information about the organisation: like the source of funding; whether involved in terror or criminal activities; details of members, including foreigners; and a clear note on the actual inclination of the organization (religious, political, social or communal).
A similar exercise had caused a furore in 2011 when the police in some districts sought to collect details of Christian organisations in a similar format. In the wake of protests by the minority community which dubbed the exercise as community profiling, the state police headquarters had claimed that the circular was issued by a mistake.
Jhabua SP Krishnaveni Desavatu told The Indian Express that it was a routine exercise. “Maybe the local police did not have information about the organization. They normally collect such information from active and inactive organisation. There is nothing to worry,” she said.
Sharma said never in the past had he been asked to provide information about himself and the organisation. He said he would reply in a couple of days but took offence to the type of questions.
Spokesperson of Catholic Bishops Conference, Madhya Pradesh, Fr Johny P J said the Catholic community would challenge the exercise if it was ordered by the administration. “Normally the police resort to such steps under pressure from right-wing organisations,” he said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines