A sensational case of forced conversion has emerged from the religious city of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, India. Allegations have been made by Indian Army Naib Subedar (Junior Warrant Officer) against some individuals, including a priest named Ashish Kumar Peter. The priest is accused of exerting pressure on the soldier to convert to Christianity. The soldier is currently posted on the India-Pakistan border in Bhind, Punjab and is part of Indian Army’s Signal Corps. The complaint regarding this matter has been filed with the local police, and a copy has also been sent to the Ministry of Defence.
The victim, Subedar Shyam Giri, alleges that the accused priest, Peter, expressed dissatisfaction with Indian Army raising slogans such as “Har Har Mahadev,” “Jai Sri Ram,” and “Jai Bhavani,” among others. He wanted that Indian army should not say these slogans.
Click Here to read the complete statement
In order to accomplish its sinister motive, the pastor offered money to the victim and attempted to influence him. In connection with this case, a First Information Report (FIR) was filed on August 26, 2023, at the Ayodhya Kotwali police station. The police are currently investigating the matter, and no arrests have been made till now.
Click here to download the complete copy of the FIR
It should be noted that the accused priest, Ashish Peter, resides in Modaha, a locality near Ayodhya Cantt Railway Station, and is associated with the FG Mission Church. This church is located only about 6-7 kilometers from the Sri Ram Janmabhoomi (birthplace of Lord Ram). Many pilgrims visiting Ayodhya by train disembark at the station near the church.
Know all about the complete incident of forced conversion in land of Bhagwan Ram
The victim’s father, who is a retired serviceman from the Indian Army, decided to settle down and build a home after his retirement. During this period, one of his acquaintances introduced him to the accused priest, Ashish Peter, who posed as a property dealer. In the course of this interaction, Subedar Shyam Giri’s father, along with two other individuals named Shyam Shankar Peter and Sachin Chaudhary, who also claimed to be property dealers, took around Rs 20 lakh from the victim’s father in the name of providing land for a church. After receiving the money, the accused priest abruptly stopped answering to the phone calls of the victim’s father.
Upon seeing his father distressed, the soldier took leave from the army and returned home. He confronted the accused priest, where Ashish Peter and Shyam Shankar Peter, in collaboration, allegedly physically assaulted the Indian Army soldier and hurled abusive language, insisting that if he wanted his money back, he would have to convert to Christianity.
According to the victim’s claims, he possesses substantial evidence of the transactions with the accused priest. However, the police have registered an FIR but have not yet charged the accused with conversion.
Attempt to Convert the Soldier’s Father into a Priest
In this entire case, the victim’s father, who is a retired army serviceman, also filed a statement with the police on September 4, 2023. He mentioned that the accused priest, Ashish Peter alias Johnny, attempted to defraud him by posing as a property dealer and taking Rs 20 lakh. When he asked for his money back, Ashish Peter enticed him by offering to make him a priest and letting him live in a house near the church, where he would take care of the church.
Questioning the Validity of the Church
During discussions with Subedar Shyam Giri, concerns were raised about the current operation of the church without renewing its registration certificate. The church is associated with the Free Gospel Mission and Church Society, which was registered on January 23, 1984, with its validity expiring on September 1, 2016. The registration certificate bears the signature of the registrar. The victim suspects that the church is currently operating without renewing its certificate, and he alleges that the church has forcibly occupied government land using the money earned through fraudulent activities.
Furthermore, the victim has mentioned that the accused priest, Ashish Peter, is benefiting financially from such fraudulent activities and using the money for unlawful purposes.
It’s important to note that presently the matter is under investigation. No arrests have been made so far, and the allegations made by the soldier and his father are subject to legal scrutiny.