The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

USA based Christian missionaries in Hyderabad on tourist Visa

6 April 2007
Times of India

(These missionaries posing as tourists belong to Youth Wing Mission. They were accompanied three local pastors. These "tourists" came in vans belonging to "Bethel Gospel Church")

source: Times of India, 6 April, 2007
US tourists quizzed for 'proselytisation'

HYDERABAD: Police on Thursday questioned 26 American tourists on a visit to the city after residents of a slum in Baghlingampally complained that the foreigners were trying to convert the locals.

According to the Chikkadpally police, a group of 53 foreigners had come to India on tourist visas. Of them, 26 came to the city led by a schoolteacher from California, Angel.

The schoolteacher worked with street children in the US and contacted her friend working with an NGO in Hyderabad. The friend, in turn, assigned a local person to take the entourage on a tour of the city.

The 'guide' took the foreign visitors to Palamur slum in Baghlingampally to show them the culture of India, police said.

"The visitors hugged children and offered prayers for the well-being of the slum dwellers. This they did in front of a temple in the slum. Srinivas, a resident of the slum, lodged a complaint with us saying that the tourists denigrated the temple by their act and indulged in conversion activity," said Chikkadpally assistant commissioner of police B Sumathi.

In the complaint, he said that the tourists were propagating their religion by luring people with gifts like chocolates and sweets.

Police said that the complainant told them that the tourists hurt the sentiments of another religion by their speeches.

"It could not be established that the visitors were engaged in conversion activity and also the alleged offensive activity took place outside the temple, which again is not an offence," added the ACP.

The police let off the tourists, mostly comprising women, after questioning them. While no case was booked, police officials said that it would be done after another round of questioning of the slum dwellers and the tourists.

The tourists were accompanied by three pastors, Sudhakar, Soulu and Srinivas who acted as translators for them.

The tourists are reported to belong to a group, Youth Wing Mission and went to the slum in vehicles provided by Bethel Gospel church. Local BJP leaders rushed to the slum after they got the news.

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