Rajasthan state police officers today arrested the Rev. Dr. Samuel Thomas, president of Emmanuel Mission International (EMI) Hope Givers International and son of Archbishop M.A. Thomas.
The arrest took place in Noida, Uttar Pradesh state. Both Thomas and his father had gone underground after Hindu extremists accused them of distributing a controversial book that they alleged denigrated their religion and deities.
Archbishop Thomas is still in hiding. Projects run by the ministry he founded â€“ including orphanages, schools, and a hospital â€“ have been targeted for closure by a wide array of Hindu extremists the past few months, including some who have offered a reward of $26,000 for the heads of the archbishop and his son.
State Welfare Minister of Rajasthan state Madan Dilawar said earlier this week that he should be stoned if he did not "take action" against Thomas and his father.
The arrest took place at noon when Thomas arrived in the driveway of the home of attorney R.K. Jain, a senior advocate of the Supreme Court of India, to arrange anticipatory bail for himself and his father. Jain lives in Noida township, Uttar Pradesh state.
Thomas was accompanied by two lawyers, C.J. Babu and Brahum Datt, and Sajan George, the National president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC). Several policemen in civil dress stopped the car in which Thomas` party was traveling and forced him into their own vehicle. The officers neglected to follow proper procedure â€“ showing neither their identity cards nor an arrest warrant, according to Dr Sajan George.
"Five or six people, one of whom claimed to be the station house officer of the Bhimgunj Mandi police station in Kota, [Rajasthan], tried to push Thomas into a car parked close to the gate of Jain`s house," George said in a written complaint to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). "Then one of them put a firearm to my face and warned us not to ask any thing further ."
George also argued that the Rajasthan police were shadowing him. "I made an appointment with Jain for 12 noon today, and that shows that they were aware of the appointment â€“ perhaps by tapping my telephone or attorney`s ," he said.
Expressing apprehensions about Thomas` well-being, George urged the NHRC to take "appropriate action."
Following the arrest, the NHRC has ordred the Rajasthan state government to report back within 48 hours on the status of Thomas, according to George.
On 6th Marchwhen dr sajan was away to china the Rajasthan police raided his house at Bangalore in the late evening without any female members and not even allowed to nurse four months old baby
`Hurting Religious Sentiments`
Mohammad Akram, Thomas` attorney in Rajasthan, said the Kota district court had earlier rejected an anticipatory bail application for Thomas and his father. A bail petition for Archbishop Thomas will come up for hearing in the Rajasthan High Court on March 24, he said.
Mansingh Chaudhary, station house officer of the Bhimgunj Mandi police station, registered an official complaint against Thomas, his father the archbishop, and a few other EMI staff members on February 14, under Section 153(a) and 295(a) of the Indian Penal Code and complaints like slave trade and others are made against the mission.
Section 153(a) of the Indian Penal code deals with hurting religious sentiments, while Section 295(a) is for deliberately outraging religious feelings or insulting the religious beliefs of a community. Both offenses are punishable with up to three years imprisonment. Moreover, according to a Supreme Court ruling, truth is not a defense under Section 153(a).
EMI senior staff members said the mission was not distributors/publishers or authors of Haqeeqat (The Truth or Reality), and that they merely kept a few copies of the book at their head office at Kota district. .
EMI operates under five registered societies: Emmanuel Bible Institute Samiti, Emmanuel Anath Ashram (Orphanage), Emmanuel School Society, Emmanuel Chikitsalaya (Hospital) Samiti, and Emmanuel Believers Fellowship. EMI leads a native church movement receiving aid from Columbus, Georgia-based Hopegivers International for humanitarian and educational work with over 10,000 children.
Tensions began on January 25, when Archbishop Thomas and his son received anonymous death threats warning them not to hold the annual graduation ceremony for hundreds of orphans and Dalit Christian students scheduled for February 25. The ceremony was postponed in the wake of the threats and attacks and advise of the police and district administration.Radical hindus have offered 20000 US $ for heads of Dr Thomas and samuel
On February 2, a mob of Hindu extremists attacked an EMI orphanage in Tindole, resulting in the death of one child and the stoning and beatings of children, staff and local clergy. On February 10 in Ramganjmandi, a Hindu mob burned to the ground an EMI school and orphanage.
On February 20, V.S. Thomas, officer in charge of the Hope Center Orphanage in Raipura, and R.S. Nair, mission chief operating officer, were detained without charges. During the arrests, police stood by as an accuser beat one of the men, according to Hopegivers International.
The highhanded arrest of Dr Samuel Thomas and raids in the home of Dr Sajan K George,s home at Bangalore and threat for his life byKota police and embargo of hospital and orphanages shows that the Rajasthan administration is controlled by radicals. The radicals in cahoots with the Rajasthan police are making the the constitution of India a mockery and the republic of India is under the siege of radicals. The radicals are supportingsati( the widowed young women are thrown to the pyre of the husbans).The medivalmindset is to perpetuate graded discrimination in the hindu society pushing the majority dalit community to total negligence and poverty.The large majorityof the orphans and the pastors graduate are from dalit background. The hidden agenda of the radicals is to stop capacity building for dalits and women through the ministry by DR Thomas and Dr Sam
Today once again Parliament is rocked on the arrest of Dr sam and threats to Dr sajan