Court in India Restores EMI Registration, Bank Accounts

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Judiciary also orders officials from Social Welfare Department to leave orphanage.
by Vishal Arora

NEW DELHI, August 8 (Compass Direct News) -- A day after extending the bail of leaders of Emmanuel Mission International (EMI), the Rajasthan High Court today restored the registration of five of the mission's institutions and unfroze EMI bank accounts.

EMI attorney Mohammad Akram told Compass that the court annulled the cancellation of registration of the EMI institutions without specifying a date and also ordered that their bank accounts be revived.

Akram said the court also ordered the state Social Welfare Department to pull out its officials deployed at the EMI orphanage in Kota district.

The department appointed the officials to the orphanage following a June 13 high court order that dismissed five writ petitions EMI had filed challenging the revoking of registration of five of its institutions.

EMI operates the Emmanuel Bible Institute Samiti, Emmanuel Anath Ashram (Orphanage), Emmanuel School Society, Emmanuel Chikitsalaya (Hospital) Samiti, and Emmanuel Believers Fellowship. The organization leads a native church movement and serves over 10,000 children through humanitarian and educational work.

The Kota Registrar of Societies had charged that board meetings of the institutions were not being held regularly and that the chairman and president were blood relatives, contrary to government regulations for societies.

On these grounds, the registrar revoked the registrations of EMI institutions on February 20 and froze their bank accounts.

The court yesterday (August 7) extended by four months the interim bail of EMI founder M.A. Thomas and his son, EMI President Samuel Thomas, which was to expire on August 1. The extension came in relation to two cases filed in February against the two men and EMI staff members for allegedly distributing a controversial book, Haqeekat, which supposedly denigrated Hindu religion and deities.

The court also allowed anticipatory bail to the EMI leaders in a third case lodged against them and eight other EMI workers for allegedly illegally confining children of EMI’s orphanage in Kota. The complaint was lodged by Savita Krishna, on staff with the state Social Welfare Department, also in February, in a police station in Rajasthan’s Kota district.

Akram applied for anticipatory bail after learning from sources that Section 153(a) of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with hurting religious sentiments, had been added in the complaint regarding illegal confinement in order to pave the way for arresting M.A. Thomas and his son. (See Compass Direct, “New Charges Leveled Against EMI Leaders in India,” June 1.)

Police had arrested Samuel Thomas, administrator V.S. Thomas, Bible college student Vikram Kindo and chief operating officer R.S. Nair, a Hindu, in connection with the book. Samuel Thomas was arrested on March 16 but released on interim bail on May 2.

M.A. Thomas was also charged but went “underground” and applied for anticipatory bail, before appearing at Udyog Nagar police station in Kota on May 15 to answer charges.

Tensions in Kota began on January 25, when M.A. Thomas and his son received anonymous death threats warning them not to hold the annual graduation ceremony for hundreds of orphans and Dalit Christian students scheduled for February 25.

Copyright 2006 Compass Direct News