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Alpha Missionary Movement
P.O.Box.2038, Fatehgunj, Baroda-390 002.
Fax : (0265) 794523.

Date: 30th October, 1998
Place: Baroda
Ref: AMM/MV98/001

The Hon'ble Governor of Gujarat,
Gandhinagar, Gujarat

Sub: Attack on delegates attending the National Christian Conference in Baroda

Respected Sir,

We want to bring to your kind notice regarding the subject stated above. We have legally obtained the permission from the authorities to hold the 33rd Annual Convention and the 9th Leadership Conference from the 27th October to November 1, 1998 at the Methodist Mission Compound. Delegates from all over India are in attendance. The first three days of the meetings have been peaceful and the meetings have been conducted in an orderly and lawful manner under the presence of the police officers.

On the night of 29th October, 1998, at around 11:30 PM, a group of about 100 declaring themselves to be Bajrang Dal forced their entry into the Adarsh Hindu Vidyalaya school located at Fatehgunj. Around 150 delegates have be accommodated in this facility. They forced the delegates to come out and threatened that if they disobeyed, they would burn up the school. They used sticks, belts, chains, and fists to mercilessly beat up the delegates as they were forced into the streets. Bibles and other personal documents were snatched from their hands. About 40 of those beaten up sustained injuries while one of them was pushed from the first floor was badly injured and hospitalized along with another who sustained injuries due to the beating. This atrocious and unlawful activity was continued up to 1:00 AM in the morning. At this time a police contingent of about 25-30 came. They were mute spectators to the whole scene. 25 of the delegates were taken away by the said Bajrang Dal activities to an undisclosed destination. Meanwhile Mother Grace and T.George (her brother) staying nearby were informed and came to enquire. They were verbally abused and then taken into police custody. T.George was beaten up while in the police van by the Bajrang Dal activists as the police stood by. After this, they were taken to the Fatehgunj Police Chowky located at Channi and detained till 8:00 AM without any charge or warrant whatsoever. They were subjected to harassment and mental torture in the custody for no crime committed while the real criminals got away scot-free.

Meanwhile at the convention ground, another group claiming to be from the VHP came at around 1:00 AM along with 15 policemen. They i.e. the VHP group threatened to set fire to the stage and destroyed the stage decorations. They then went inside the campus where other delegates were put up. Here, they snatched Bibles and tore them. Delegates staying here were rudely woken up and beaten up without provocation. They also damaged a tent that was erected in the campus.

These painful events are yet another staring example of the continued aggression and persecution of minorities in this state that have graphically escalated during recent times. We are victims of the hate campaign and a vicious agenda propagated by Hindu fundamentalist groups that have no regard whatsoever for the law or the government or the rights of the minorities or religious groups. This has caused great stress upon the Christian community in this state and our organization that has been active in this city since three decades. Being a peace loving community, we appeal to the law of the land that is supposed to uphold the rights and religious affiliation of every Indian citizen.

Our prayer is that you will use your high office to ensure the safety, protection and freedom of religious expression as enshrined in the Constitution of India. Your personal intervention in this matter will be highly appreciated by the Christian community of this state and the nation in general. May the Almighty God bless you abundantly.

We now await a speedy and favourable response from your office.

Yours faithfully,
Rev. Mathew Cherian

1. Chairman, National Human Rights Commission, Delhi, India
2. Police Commissioner, Baroda city
3. District Collector, Baroda
4. Chairman, State Minority Commission