Missionary floutes visa rules to carry on with conversions
By R.S. Narayananswami
Serious doubts are being raised as to whether there is a government in the country to protect the interest of the citizens or not. A Canadian missionary flush with funds?defying all court orders and avoiding the police dragnet?is not only staying in the country but also freely converting the poor Hindus to Christianity. That man in question, Donald R. Watts, Chairman, South Asia Division of the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) mission, first came to India in May 1997 on a ?business visa?. One wonders how a missionary entered India on a ?business visa? and how the government allowed him. For the last nine years he has been in various places in the southern States carrying on with his mission of converting the poor.
After a prayer and healing convention conducted by Watts in Madurai, the Collector of Madurai sent a detailed report to the Tamil Nadu government. In September 5, 2003 the Tamil Nadu government ordered the Dharmapuri Collector to seize the passport and visa of Watts and deport him along with his wife Dorothy. But Watts along with his wife secretly left for the US avoiding arrest and deportation. Later in the US, they procured a ?business visa? valid till 2008 from the Indian Embassy and again entered India.
This time they sneaked into Kerala. The Collector of Pathanimitta spotted him when he was presiding over a function at a school and asked him to appear before him for enquiry on February 17, 2005. ?It is revealed from the enquiry and from the records available that D.R. Watts has been engaged in the religious activities including conversion of people to Christianity and during his stay in India from 1997 to February 17, 2005, he has converted as many as seven lakh people to Christianity. It is also evident that Watts brought several foreigners on tourist visas and conducted evangelism with their help in various cities including eight different places in Kerala,? the Collector says in his February 22, 2005, report. The Collector also said, ?D.R. Watts committed serious crimes against the nation, and national interest and he is a security concern to the country.?
Not only this, Dr. K.J. Moses, Secretary, Seventh Day Adventist Church, Hosur, Tamil Nadu, had also written to the Collector of Pathanimittta on February 10, 2005, cautioning him against the ?illegal activities of Watts and his plans to convert one million Hindus to Christianity. His money power strikes fear in others and all complaints are ignored,? Moses had stated.
One wonders how a missionary entered India on a ?business visa? and how the government allowed him. For the last nine years he has been in various places in the southern States carrying on with his mission of converting the poor.
Another member of the Seventh Day Adventist mission, D. Elisha, had also complained that D.R. Watts had converted nine lakh people since 1997. Elisha also sent the copy of his complaint about the illegal activities of Watts to the President of India, Prime Minister, Home Minister, etc., but no action was taken so far. Elisha then approached the Chennai High Court in June 2005. In his direction Justice Dinakaran asked the Dharmapuri Police SP to impound the visas and passports of Watts and his wife.
Meanwhile, Watts sent a complaint to the Kerala Chief Minister that he had confessed under pressure from the magistrate and police. He also filed a complaint in a Kerala court that he was threatened and made to confess. But the court rejected his petition.
According to reports, Watts was also present at the White House dinner hosted recently by the US President George Bush for India'sPrime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh. It is also to be noted that Watts? advocate Shri Daniel is a colleague of advocate Nalini Chidambaram, wife of Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram.
What one wonders is whether there is any communication at all between New Delhi and Indian Embassies abroad.