Local Government in India Cancels Christian Convention Citing Law and Order Issues

ICC Note:

A local government in India has cancelled its permission for Christians to hold a three day prayer convention citing law and order issues. The event was scheduled to start on Monday, but officially revoked their permission last on Sunday. Many participants had already traveled to the convention, but now are being denied the right to gather even for prayer service at the local church. Government officials claimed that local people had objected to the convention being held, so that is why they revoked their permission. Christians feel that their right to religious freedom is being infringed as this local government continues to deny them the right to gather together and worship peacefully. 

5/6/2015 India (The Indian Express) – A Pentecostal convention scheduled to begin in Kakarkuva village of Dhar on Monday was called off after the district administration cancelled permission late on Sunday saying the event could become a law and order issue.

The sub-divisional magistrate had on April 15 given permission for a three-day Atimiya Jagruti Sabha, Satsang and prayers asking the organizer to conduct activities between 8 am and 11 pm. The other conditions were not to use loudspeakers and avoid raising “objectionable slogans”.

“We were told at the last moment that the permission stands cancelled. Many participants from other places have already come. We had spent a lot on the event,” Pastor Bharat Singh Mehda told The Indian Express.

SDM K Sharma said the permission was revoked because the organizers had kept the administration in the dark about the possible turnout at the event. He said large tents had been pitched at the venue. Without elaborating, the SDM said, local people had objected to the gathering.

“They are free to hold a small prayer meeting in the local church but no big function will be allowed,” the SDM said.

The pastor said a large tent had been pulled down by the organizer after a large police force arrived at the venue.

“We are not being allowed to hold even a prayer meeting in the church,” the pastor alleged. He said every year about 1000 people attend the event but this year the number was expected to be more than 5,000.

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