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IndiaStates and CapitalsUttarakhand(Dehradun)

In Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand, Christian missionaries are attacked over suspicions of ‘conversion.’

Two days before Christmas in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand, a group of Christian missionaries were reportedly attacked by more than 30 men armed with sticks over accusations of forced conversions.

Both parties have filed complaints with the police, resulting in the filing of a cross FIR at the Purola police station. So far, no arrests have been made in relation to the FIRs. According to local police officers, the situation is under control.

According to the authorities, Pastor Lazarus Cornelius and his wife Sushma Cornelius of the Union Church in Mussoorie were leading prayers at a structure under construction in the Chhiwala village when the local gang approached. Allegations of religious conversion sparked a dispute between the two parties. Police reported that members of both parties sustained minor injuries during the confrontation.

“According to the residents, led by Virendra Singh Rawat of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), some outsiders have entered the village of Chhiwala and are conducting religious conversions. There was also considerable conflict between the two factions. We have filed a First Information Report (FIR) against the pastor and others based on a complaint from Virendra Singh Rawat, said Purola station officer (SO) Komal Singh Rawat.

“Later, the opposite side filed a second complaint, saying that they were engaged in worship when the locals attacked them and vandalised their vehicle. We have filed a FIR over this complaint,” Rawat stated.

Rawat added that the situation is being investigated and that appropriate action will be taken based on the findings.

The FIR was registered under sections 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on the basis of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), as well as Section 3/5 of the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018.

The second FIR was lodged against unidentified locals under IPC sections 147 (rioting), 153 A, 323, 504, 506 (criminal intimidation), and 427 (criminal mischief causing damage).

The police reportedly questioned Pastor Cornelius, his wife, and others, who were later freed.

The Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, 2022 was enacted by the Uttarakhand Assembly last month, making unauthorised religious conversion a cognizable and non-bailable offence in the state, punishable by imprisonment for a minimum of three years and a maximum of ten years. According to sources, Uttarakhand governor Gurmit Singh has signed the measure into law. In the near future, a government notice will be released regarding this matter.



Hi, my name is Nisha and I'm an educational journalist based in India. I've always been passionate about the power of education to transform lives, and that's what led me to pursue a career in journalism focused on this area. I completed my Bachelor's degree in English from Hindu College in Delhi in 2013 and then went on to earn my Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in 2017. During my studies, I also completed several short-term courses on Education in India, Sociology, and other related subjects to deepen my knowledge in this field. I'm particularly interested in improving access to quality education in rural areas, where students often face significant challenges. I've worked on a number of initiatives to address this issue, including advocating for better policies, resources, and practices that can make a difference. As an educational journalist, I'm passionate about using my platform to highlight important issues in the education space. I've covered a wide range of topics, including the impact of technology in the classroom, innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and the challenges facing students from marginalized communities. One of the things I love most about my work is the opportunity to constantly learn and grow. I'm an avid reader and believe that reading is key to expanding one's knowledge and perspective. I'm always seeking out new ideas and insights to help me better understand the world around me. In summary, as an educational journalist, I'm dedicated to using my skills and expertise to make a positive impact in the field of education. I'm committed to improving access to quality education for all students and to using my platform to raise awareness about important issues in this area.

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