On the 6th of September 2020, a news channel by the name of Pahad TV made a short video about how Christian missionaries from the south have ‘deviously’ come to the north and are ‘in the business’ of converting people there.
A group of fanatics, led by a man identified as Gyan Singh Rana is seen threatening a group of Christians, warning them not to visit the Pastor’s home to pray. What is even more surprising is that Gyan Singh is a retired Military Officer.
In the video, Gyan Singh accused the Christians of converting and bribing poor people from the community under the cover of running a school. He claimed that their “work” does not stop instead of the pandemic, when in reality only a handful of them peacefully met after Unlock-4 was issued by the state on the 1stof September 2020.
The news reporter liberally speaks about how Gyan Singh caught the Christians ‘Red Handed’ and how they were running the school without permission, when in fact, the Pastor, who appeared to be terrified in the video told them that the school was legally registered and belonged to a trust, of which he is the secretary.
In another disturbing statement, the reporter is heard saying, “I can produce an Identity card of a ‘Rohingya’ as well” when the Pastor answers him about his children having identity cards of Uttarakhand.
The reporter goes on to say, “It is shocking how people from the south come to the north, buy land and start a school and church. The authorities don’t even get a whiff of this, in fact, they give them the permission to do these things without making any inquiries about them!”
How is any of this wrong?? And who divided India into North and South? Since when did Indians not have the right to move to whichever state they pleased?
The news channel even captured a statement from a Hindu political fringe group leader identified as Shanti Prasad Bhatt. He says, “I am happy that our workers ‘caught’ this act. If such acts are happening under the nose of the authorities, we want to know how and why. Such people are disturbing the peace of Uttarakhand and this matter must be looked into.”
The Kranti Dal leader then ends his speech in a typical religious nationalist like fashion saying, “If the authorities do not take the necessary action against such people, then we will take this matter into our own hands.”
The distress, fear and damage caused by religious extremists’ is not new to the masses. Christians, being a minority in India’, have become easy targets to such bigots. The human reaction of fear brought upon the minority during such attacks, often misinterpret them as culprits when in fact they are the victims.
The media channel whose website has no other information about themselves other than an Uttar Pradesh address and an email link, very strategically chose and compiled clips to portray Christians in a corrupt and damaging light. The likes of these use Facebook as a catalyst to propagated communal hate.
Speaking to Persecution Relief about the incident, the Pastor said, “How can they stop people from coming to my house? They verbally abused and manhandled us, even the women, but that is not shown in the video.”, the pastor added.
After graduating in Theology, the Pastor moved to Uttarakhand to serve the community there. He started a small kindergarten school for underprivileged children to counter the prevailing caste system and its evils.
The School thrived as many parents entrusted their children in our care” explained the Pastor to Persecution Relief. It is now a primary school, i.e. up to grade 5 and is registered under a trust known as ‘Faith in Action’
The moral of the story: What we behold is what we become.
Shibu Thomas is Founder, Persecution Relief