India State: Evangelical Group Involved In "Disappearance Children"

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Tuesday, 16 January 2007 (13 hours ago)
By BosNewsLife News Center

NEW DELHI, INDIA (BosNewsLife) -- The government of India's Hindu-ruled Rajasthan state has launched an investigation into the alleged involvement of a major evangelical mission group in the disappearance of children, news reports said Tuesday, January 16.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government set up a committee to "investigate" why the number of children at an Emmanuel Mission International (EMI) hospital dropped from over 1,700 to 435, an attorney said in published remarks.

EMI lawyer Mohammad Akram told reporters that the state Social Welfare Department already served notice to EMI on December 5, saying a committee had been formed to look into the alleged disappearance of children.

Akram said however that hundreds of children were send away by Rajasthan authorities. “When the other children returned [from a summer break in villages] the department officials refused to accept them back,” Compass Direct News agency quoted Akram as saying.

District authorities have reportedly told the children they needed government permission to stay at the orphanage.


"Since they were all from poor backgrounds, they did not dare to approach the authorities and consequently went back to their villages," Akram said. "In fact, some of them who had nowhere to go have now become rag-pickers."

Christian leaders fear renewed persecution against EMI. Last year, tensions began in Kota when EMI officials Archbishop M.A Thomas and his son Samuel Thomas received anonymous death threats warning them not to hold an annual graduation ceremony for hundreds of orphans and Dalit Christian students.

The Rajasthan state police later Thomas junior on March 16, 2006 for allegedly distributing the book Haqeekat (The Truth), seen as denigrating the Hindu faith. The police had earlier arrested several other EMI leaders in connection with the book.

Thomas was released on bail on May 2, 2006, while Thomas senior remained underground until the state High Court granted anticipatory bail for him on August 7, 2006.


"We praise the Lord for this decision. The Lord has heard our cries and those of his children around the world," Thomas junior's wife, Shelley Thomas told BosNewsLife at the time. She told BosNewsLife that his imprisonment had been difficult for the family.

"Now it is time to get back to focusing on what we do best, caring for abandoned and orphaned children," she added at the time.

She and her husband's organization have been supporting thousands of orphans and abandoned children in India. Most of them are Dalits, also known as the 'untouchables', as they are the lowest caste in the country's ancient system of Hinduism.

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