Pastors, Christian leaders hold meeting after man is arrested on conversion charge

The arrest comes after Hindutva groups stage protest

Consequent to high drama over what is said to be a case of forced conversion and the subsequent arrest on Monday of a man accused by right wing groups of carrying out forcible conversion, members of Christian organisations held a meeting on Tuesday to decide their next course of action.

Members of Hindutva outfits during their protest on Sunday night said that the accused was carrying out forcible conversion by offering money. They also said that the accused, Somu Avaradi, had abused complainant Vishwanath on caste lines.

Avaradi has been arrested now under the provisions of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities ) Act.

However, the members of the Christian community and pastors said that the victims were actually members of the Christian community and the pastor and the police had taken action against the victims, while sparing the members of the Hindutva outfits which had manhandled members of the Christian community.

When contacted, executive member of the Hubballi Taluk Pastors Association Reverend Cedric Jacob said that the members of the association and community leaders held a meeting on Tuesday to decide their next course of action. “Our community members are the victims in this case. We have not yet approached the Police Commissioner. We plan to meet him, along with our counsel,” he added.

Meanwhile, in a video that has gone viral on social media, Avaradi, who the Christian community recognises as pastor of the Prayer House of All People’s Church at Bhairidevarakoppa, is seen clarifying that he had met the complainant for the first time and that no such conversion attempts had taken place in the prayer hall. He is also heard saying that he is a Lingayat by birth and that he has not converted to Christianity but he has faith in Jesus Christ.

And, Police Commissioner Labhu Ram said that the police have not received any complaint from the Christian community so far. He said that he will investigate and take action, if a complaint is filed.

On Monday, a few leaders of the Christian community also met Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Siddaramaiah in this connection.

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