Conversions send Kerala cops on prayer hall raids - The New Indian Express

Conversions send Kerala cops on prayer hall raids

Published: 03rd Nov 2013 09:50:27 AM

The Kerala police have started collecting data on Christian missionary institutions functioning in the Attappadi tribal belt. A team of officials led by Agali deputy superintendent of police R Salim met representatives of various sects functioning in Agali earlier this week. The move follows reports of conversion drives conducted by Christian denominations in the region after incidents of malnutrition deaths.

The Intelligence Wing of the state police also submitted a report to the home department, warning about the possibility of communal tension in the area. Salim said the police are in the process of collecting data about institutions run by missionaries, including prayer halls, schools, hospitals, de-addiction and meditation centres. ‘’We asked them not to engage in any type of conversion activities,” he said.

It is learnt that most of the representatives who attended the meeting were Pentecostal pastors who were accused in the Intelligence report of luring tribals to their faith. The police are learnt to have planned similar meetings at the Sholayur police station limits. The officials termed the data collection a cumbersome task as many of the prayer halls were functioning in the houses of pastors or converted tribals.

“As churches need to register with the panchayat, some sects run prayer halls in the residences of pastors or converted tribals to bypass the rule,” they said. Attappadi block panchayat president Usha Raju said the initiative, though belated, was welcome. “The pastors have succeeded in converting a significant population in hamlets like Pothupadi, Vattilakki and Kattekad,” she said.

Maruthi, secretary of Thaikula Sangham, an organisation of tribal women, alleged that many of Sangham’s development project proposals were rejected by the government. But missionary organisations easily bag them which gives them genuineness among the tribal population.

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