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J&K: Pastor accused of converting people, attacked in Kathua

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As a pastor, Chunglenlal Singsit, 40, visits the homes of people who ask him to pray for them, sick and in good health.

But on Christmas Day, on his way home after praying for a family in Padyari village in the Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir, he stopped by a grocery store to buy disposable items for the birthday of his son. Soon after, traders and locals gathered in the area, threatening and accusing him of trying to convert Dalit locals to Christianity by handing out money, he told The Indian Express. .

Singsit, who is from Manipur, said locals also asked him to sing “Jai Shri Ram”. When he refused, they slapped him in the face.

Police intervened and defused the situation, but no complaints have yet been filed regarding the incident or any arrests made.

Scarred by the incident, Singsit and his family – his wife and three children – who had lived in Palli Morh in Kathua for three years left for Manipur on December 27.

As he returned to his home country on Friday, the pastor said over the phone, “I haven’t done anything wrong. I never gave out money or forcibly converted people. If someone comes to pray, I do it for him because it is my duty as a pastor.

Kathua police said on December 25, they received reports that people in the Nagri parole area had rallied around a pastor, who had converted the poor to Christianity by distributing food. silver.

To avoid any untoward incident, they traveled to the area and took the pastor to Nagri police station, Kathua (SP) Police Superintendent Ramesh Chander Kotwal said on Friday.

Police let Singsit go the next morning “after asking him to be careful because these are sensitive issues,” the SP said.

Sources said the pastor was fired after Peter Masih, who ran a gymnasium in Palli Morh, pledged to get to know Singsit and say the pastor was not involved in any conversions.

A police officer at the station said he found no evidence of a forced conversion. “After his (Singsit) initial questioning, we even called a family member he had visited… The latter also said that they invited the pastor to his home for the treatment of their unwell son. well for quite some time, ”he said. said on condition of anonymity.

“The pastor only had 2000-2200 rupees in his pocket and this amount is normal for most people,” he said, adding that “we left him because there was nothing against him”.

On Friday, Singsit appreciated the prompt police intervention, but alleged that the Kathua SP told him to leave the district within five days if the pastor wanted to avoid filing a complaint against him in the future.

“I’m really glad the police arrived on time. I don’t know what might have happened if they hadn’t shown up as the crowd grew in number, ”Singsit said.

But “the experience was very painful, especially when someone like MS acted in a way you wouldn’t expect…. he should be better acquainted with the basic rights of a citizen guaranteed by the Constitution of India. I am Indian and as an Indian citizen I can live in any part of the country, ”said the pastor.

When contacted, SP Kotwal denied the accusation as being without merit, stating: “Nothing of the sort had happened.”


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