While charitable activities are traditionally seen as benevolent, concerns have been raised by the Legal Rights Protection Forum. The accusation of imposing Christian values on underprivileged students in the guise of charitable activities not only raises serious ethical questions but also challenges the fundamental principles of both charity and religious liberty.
The LRPF specifically calls for the suspension of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licence of the NGO, citing the violation of minors’ religious rights. The NCPCR is expected to launch an inquiry into the matter, evaluating the allegations and determining the appropriate course of action to safeguard the rights and liberties of the affected minors.
This objective of New Life Society(NLS) is as same as Caruna Bal Vikas (CBV) which was mentioned by CBI in its FIR in 2020. CBV was majorly & heavily funded by Compassion International. NLS is an initiative of Jesus Redeems whose major donor was again CBV & CI.
— Legal Rights Protection Forum (@lawinforce) November 18, 2023
In its letter to NCRCR, LRPF alleges that ‘Jesus Redeems’ and ‘New Life Society’ are NGOs based in Tuticorin that share the same office location in Tamil Nadu as well as chief functionaries. As a result, they share an equal proportion in the crime of religious conversions targeting poor children.
According to LRPF, “from the official website of the New Life Society, it is noted that the NGO has been running a separate wing named ‘New Life Child Development Centre,’ which was said to begin with 83 children and is now home to 209 poor children.” Surprisingly, the New Life Society’s official website openly declares its vision and mission as follows:
LRPF accuses both NGOs Jesus Redeems and New Life Society of working to convert minor children from poor and marginalised communities in the name of Child Welfare Activities, which is nothing more than a violation of the minor children’s freedom of religion guaranteed under Article 25 of the Indian Constitution.
In a similar instance, the CBI filed a case against Caruna Bal Vikas NGO in 2020 for its role in Christian conversions of children using foreign funds provided by Compassion International (US).
In 2017, the Government of India banned Compassion International (US) from donating to Indian NGOs on account of various scandals involving child conversion and raising funds through child sponsorship schemes across the world and in India.
“The most important thing to note is that the objectives of Caruna Bal Vikas (as described by CBI in its FIR) and New Life Society (as explained on its official website) are exactly similar i.e., enabling the children to become responsible and fulfilled Christian adults,” LRPF adds.
Citing all the above evidence, the letter addressed to NCPCR raises serious questions on the conduct of Mohan Lazarus, who is the founder of Jesus Redeems and New Life Society and has close links to a network of Christian NGOs operating in various parts of Tamil Nadu.
LRPF requests that the NCPCR launch an investigation into Jesus Redeems and its functionaries who are involved in religious conversion of children who are vulnerable members of society whose right to religious freedom must be protected.