Money, Grains, "Beautiful Girls" for Marriage offered for converting to Christianity: UP Police opposes SHUATS V-C's bail plea in Supreme Court

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The Uttar Pradesh police has informed Supreme Court that Vinod Bihari Lal and Rajendra Bihar Lal, Director, administration and Vice Chancellor respectively, of Sam Higginbottom University of Agriculture, Technology and Science (SHUATS) at Prayagraj are facing multiple cases, including of mass illegal conversion of marginalised sections of Hindu and Muslim society into Christianity by allurement and use of threats and coercion.

The state police has vehemently opposed any relief to them alleging that they had received over Rs 34 crores from several foreign countries and used it for illegal conversion.

"During the course of Investigation it has been found that the since 2005 around Rs 34,44,54,855.00 has been received in the FCRA account of SHUATS from various countries including USA, Afghanistan, Japan, Libya Iraq, Germany, Canada, Guyana, Uganda, Ethopia, Bahrain, Netherlands, Phillipines, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, Australia, Nepal, Bhutan and Nigeria," it said.

The funds are received from foreign countries to SHUATS from where it is transmitted to the "Yeshu Darbar Trust" and further distributed in cash to the Pastors of the churches involved in the said offence as well as staff of Broadwell hospital which further uses the said money for illegal conversion of the marginalised people of Hindu and Muslim faith to Christianity by allurement and fraud, the police alleged in an affidavit.

In one of the statement of a witness, it has been stated that when he went to meet his relatives daughter at Sadar hospital, he got to know that she was taken to Mission Hospital where they met a doctor named Josh Prakash, who asked how many gods do you worship and emphasised that he only worshipped Jesus. He was told to do the same and he will get wheat money and good health.

It also claimed that during searches conducted at an organization named Word Vision, India Branch, Civil Lines, Fatehpur, certain pamphlets and documents were seized advertising the benefits of conversion to Christianity as well as the list of items used for alluring people.

"The pamphlets so found also mentioned that an amount of Rs. 35,000 will be given to people who get themselves converted to Christianity and further if someone induces other people to get converted to Christianity then they will get an extra bonus amount, furthermore, if someone becomes preacher of Christianity then will be provided a monthly salary of Rs 25,000 and if some person converts 5 to 10 people then will get extra bonus amount," the affidavit filed by Circle Officer, Fatehpur, stated.

It also stated the pastor of Evangelical Church of India, Hariharganj, Fatehpur informed the authorities that he and his accomplices have been converting Hindus and Muslims by alluring them, they also manipulate names in documents for this purpose.

"Entire process of conversion is completed in 40 days, they also attempt to convert patients that visit missionary hospitals, and many hospital staff is also involved in this process", it claimed.

The police said the present case related to mass illegal conversion of marginalised sections of Hindu and Muslim society into Christianity by allurement and use of threats and coercion. 

"The petitioner has been named by several witnesses of the case including the victims stating him to be the main perpetrator of the offence, who has been receiving and illegally using foreign funds in violation of law for the purpose of committing the offence," it said.

The present case arose out of Police Station Kotwali, Fatehpur Case Crime No. 224 of 2022 for offences under sections 153A, 506, 420, 467, 468 of Indian Penal Code and sections 3, 5(1) of Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Act. 

On April 14, 2022, locals informed about forcible conversion of Hindus and Muslims into Christianity in Evangelical Church of India situated at Hariharganj, Fatehpur to the Hindu rights organisation Vishwa Hindu Parishad. Upon this information, the police reached at the said church, where it was found that about 90 Hindus and Muslims are being subjected to conversion.

The police also cited statements of several witnessed who stated that the accused induced them to convert other people for money and "getting married to beautiful girls".

The petitioners accused were earlier granted anticipatory bail by the top court. Yesterday, Dushyant Dave appeared for the petitioner(s) and said that the entire case was being run at the behest of Vishwa Hindu Parishad and FIRs registered were a hoax. The counsel for Uttar Pradesh however sought time to file an affidavit detailing the issues and said that they had dire evidence and a huge nexus had emerged.

Case Title: Vinod Bihari Lal Vs. The State of Uttar Pradesh & Anr.