Satna church wedding: Slap sedition charge on pastors, says MP state panel member

Bhopal: A member of MP Backward Classes and Minority Welfare Commission on Monday wanted sedition charge to be slapped on four pastors and believers for allegedly helping an OBC couple enter into a wedlock unlawfully at a church in Satna district that was foiled by right wing activists.

Laxmi Yadav said he has sought legal opinion on whether sedition charge could be invoked against the four Christians for "waging a war against the country". The four are already facing prosecution in connection with the event on April 27.

"The clerics and the faithful have waged a war against the state by trying to convert the Other Backward Classes (OBC) Hindu couple clandestinely and marry off a minor," Yadav told PTI.

"I have sought legal opinion on whether sedition charge could be invoked against the Christians for waging a war against the country," he said and argued that when Patidar quota stir leader Hardik Patel can be charged with sedition why the pastors can't face similar charge.

Yadav said he was going to petition Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, State Home Minister Babulal Gaur and Director General of Police to slap sedition charge on the reverends after seeking legal opinion.

"The pastors and believers have tried to convert (groom) Arun Kushwaha and (bride) Subhadra, (both who are allegedly Hindus) to Christianity. A Christian network with a centre in Satna is working in the country to convert Hindus, a community which is on decline in India," he claimed.

Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

"Ten people including four reverends and believers have already been booked for conversion and trying to facilitate a minor girl's marriage," he added.

Church of God pastor Sam Samuel told PTI that the only mistake he had committed was that he did not check Subhadra's
birth and school certificates.

"Her parents told me that she was 19 years old as per her birth certificate and 18 according to her school certificate. I personally did not check it given that the girl's parents were believers and coming to Church since last three years," the pastor said.

"I did not indulge in any conversion or wrongdoing. Along with me, pastors Stephen Raj Kumar from Tamil Nadu, Gyan Das and Gaya Pratap were also arrested," he added.

After their marriage was foiled, Arun and Subhadra have been quoted in media as saying that they came "closer to Christianity" after members of their families were "healed by Jesus Christ" who pulled off "miracles" for them, but the two had "not embraced" it formally.

Their marriage could not be solemnised after right-wing activists and Yadav petitioned to the police, who along with them allegedly entered the Satna church and stopped it last month.

This happened as the girl was "not of marriageable age" and the couple was clandestinely being converted to Christian faith, Yadav claimed. Police were provided documents relating to the girl being a minor, he added.

Following a complaint by Bajrang Dal in Kolgawan Police Station, a police team along with the ringt-wing activists entered the 'Church of God' here and stopped the wedding ceremony which was being solemnised by the pastor on 27 April.

City Superintendent of Police (CSP) Sitaram Yadav on 28 April had said the girl was a "Hindu and according to her certificate was "10 days short of turning 18".

"We had arrested 10 persons in this regard including church pastor Sam Samuel and the groom," the CSP had said.

All the accused have got bail, police sources said.

Updated Date: May 02, 2016 20:42 PM

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