It is not an incident of a few weeks or months. The evangelisation process by the Christian missionaries has been going on and on in Assam and other parts of the North East for decades. The missionaries, with foreign funding, have successfully converted lakhs of people in the region to Christianity, and the process continues. As a result, the Vaishnavite and Satriya cultural hub, started by Srimant Shankardev, now has 66 Churches against 34 Vaishnav Satras.
The Swedish Mission
Three Swedish preachers, including two women, were arrested by the Assam Police on October 25 for wrongfully indulging in Christian religious activities on tourist visas. Hannah Mikaela, Marcus Arne Henrik Bloom and Susanna Elisabeth Hakanason were arrested at Naharkatia after attending several Christian prayer meetings intended to convert people to Christianity. This time the target was the tea garden community. Foreign Christian missionaries have been targeting the tea garden areas of Assam for several decades for the purpose of conversion. As a result, several thousands of tea community had been converted to Christianity in the past few decades.
Missionaries from Germany and other european countries have been involved in large-scale conversions in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh for a long period. In July, ‘Organiser’ had reported in detail how the foreign funding module plays a big role in large scale conversion in Assam and other parts of the North East
Three preachers from Sweden were taken into custody for violating their visa provisions by attending several religious meetings in the Dibrugarh district of Assam organised by the Churches association. The police had filed a case against the three for attending religious programmes intended for conversion at the Ghinai area in the Dibrugarh district while travelling under tourist visas. The arrested preachers were produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate court, found guilty under the Foreigners Act, and deported to Sweden.
The three-day prayer meeting was organised by the United Church Forum, a body of different churches. Locals alleged that missionaries intended to convert people, mainly tea tribes and other tribes, in the name of healing in the three days’ event.
The German Mission & Funding
Seven German missionaries were detained in Kaziranga by Assam Police for flouting visa norms after they attended several religious meetings intended to convert people to Christianity on October 28. Missionaries from Germany have been involved in large-scale conversions in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh for a long period. Churches and Christian organisations, based in Germany, have been funding religious conversion in Assam for decades. In July, Organiser had reported in detail how the foreign funding module plays a big role in large scale conversion in Assam and other parts of the North East. Churches from other European countries are also funding heavily for conversions in Assam. A letter of appreciation sent by the Diocese of Tezpur in Assam to Rev. Pfarrer or Pastor of a Church in Germany, shows how money sent from foreign nations is utilised in religious conversion in Assam. In the letter accessed by Organiser the Diocese of Tezpur thanked the Rev. Pfarrer for donating and transferring 7500 Euros which amounted to Rs 6,55,000. The money was transferred on January 18, 2021 amid the pandemic restrictions in India. Thanking the Germany-based pastor for the donation the Diocese of Tezpur the letter clearly mentioned that the money will be utilised in evangelisation (religious conversion to Christianity) and faith formation. In the letter to the Germany-based pastor, the Diocese of Tezpur also stated that during the pandemic restrictions, they were busy in various apostolates, including religious conversions through teaching, health care and other social works.
The Conversion Module
Take two bundles of aluminium sheets and a few warm clothes and be Christian. This sounds like an end-of-season offer by some companies. But it is not. It is the offer the Christian missionaries offer to the poor tribal villagers in Assam. Just 30 kilometres from the capital Dispur, there were three Hindu villages inside the Amsang forest. The three villages had 130 Hindu families of the Garu tribal community. The villages are remote and situated amid hills, so it has a communication problem. During the pandemic period, the Christian missionaries came close to the villagers and offered them some help. But slowly, the missionaries started their own business of conversion. They offered two bundles of aluminium sheets and some warm clothes during the winter and asked the villagers to convert to Christianity. Now 128 families out of 130 in the three villages are converted to Christianity. The three villages, namely Sampathar, Longdangguri and Suwali Lukuwa Khal are now fully converted villages. Ex-village head Bhupedra Changma told Organiser that a father came a few years ago, and he offered some help to the poor villagers. Now they offer goods to the villagers, and they convert to Christianity. Only two families of the villages remain Hindu till now, but they are compelled to change their religion to remain in the locality. The villagers now disagree to talk to any outsider. World Hindu Federation Assam Pradesh General Secretary Balen Baishya alleged that missionaries are doing religious conversion across Assam, especially in the tribal areas. Missionaries initially offer help and then convert the poor tribal people by deceit. During the pandemic, religious conversion picked up in the State, Baishya added.
The Christian missionaries continue large-scale religious conversion in upper Assam using ways of deceit and temptation, alleged World Hindu Federation, Assam.
The Government Action
After the recent arrest of the ten evangelists from Sweden and Germany, the Assam Government has taken some strict action against those illegal religious activities run by Christian groups. Special DGP GP Singh informed that two criminal cases have been registered against these activities. Two Indian Christian preachers Mukut Bothra from Jharkhand and Barnabas Terang from Assam, were arrested by police in connection with these cases. The two arrested persons invited and facilitated the foreign missionaries to Assam to join in religious conversion meets in different parts of the State. Interestingly all the missionaries were on tourist visas, and as per the law of India, they can’t take part in religious activities on tourist visas. Special DGP further informed that all district police superintendents were asked to keep a strict vigil on all types of religious preaching practices where there are foreign nationals are involved. Missionaries who have entered India on tourist visas and indulge in religious activities will be dealt with as per the law of the land, Special DGP Singh added.
Mizo Synod Conversion Module
Mizoram-based Mizo Synod has aggressively targeted Assam’s tribal and tea communities for conversion to Christianity. To run the conversion process aggressively and rapidly, the Mizoram Presbyterian Church Synod or the Mizo Synod has been working on mission mode for which the synod has named the ongoing conversion module in the state as ‘Assam Mission Field’ with a specific mandate to proselytising the Hindu population of the State. The whole mission is operated from the Mizo church based in Guwahati city. For the mandate of conversion, the Mizo church has divided the State into three administrative divisions, namely Dibrugarh Pastorate for the upper Assam, Tezpur Pastorate for the north Assam and Guwahati Pastorate for the lower Assam to run the conversion module smoothly. It is also mentioned in the internal report that quality flex, print materials, books etc., for the field staff to run the conversion module smoothly. Interestingly the internal report of the Mizo synod indicates that the Christian missionaries are targeting specific communities in Assam, which includes a major tea Adivasi community Santhali. The Mizo synod appointed two Santhali agents to run the conversion process amongst the community.
Just 30 kilometres from the capital Dispur, there were 3 Hindu villages inside the Amsang forest. The 3 villages had 130 Hindu families of the Garu tribal community. During the pandemic period, the Christian missionaries came close to the villagers AND slowly, the missionaries started their own business of conversion. Now 128 families out of 130 in the villages are converted to Christianity
Moreover, they are targeting other communities in Assam, including Nepali, Bengali and the main community Assamese, for which Mizo synod has appointed several agents of these specific communities. It should be mentioned that vulnerability mapping is a technique based on certain parameters through which the Mizo Synod identifies communities, ethnic groups, localities, and individuals susceptible to conversion. These include villages divested by natural disasters, economic or medical catastrophes, families or individuals suffering from long-term illness, remote localities and single parent or orphans etc.
Amazon Sponsored Conversion in North East
E-commerce giant Amazon is financing the Christian conversion module run by American Baptist Mission (ABM). There is a possibility of a money laundering ring run by Multinational companies and ABM to fund India’s huge missionary conversion mission. Social justice Forum of Arunachal Pradesh accused the two organisations of running a possible money laundering ring and missionary conversion mission across India. The American Baptist mission is running a front in India known as All India Mission (AIM). This is their frontal organisation which has openly claimed on their website that they have converted 25 thousand people to Christianity in North East India.
Interestingly AIM has tried to hide its conversion agenda amongst the Adivasi in Jharkhand and the Tribal population in the Northeast by blocking Indian IP addresses from accessing their website and Facebook pages. The Social Justice forum of Arunachal Pradesh alleged that the e-commerce giant is continuously funding the All India Mission through its foundation, Amazon Smile. Amazon is sponsoring the conversion module of All India Mission by donating money against every purchase by an Indian. NCPCR noticed Amazon after a detailed report was published in Organiser in September. The e-com giant has reportedly accepted the truth of funding the All India Mission from their US office. The All India Mission has another front called calvary Gospel Ministries trust that plant Churches across India under the secular name Parthana Bhavans to lure the gullible population into conversion. The organisation alleged that Amazon is patronising AIM in these endeavours.