Interrogation of the 26 Myanmarese (who infiltrated illegally into Mizoram and traveled to Guwahati) who were by Guwahati Police on Sunday has revealed a sinister gameplan by Christian missionaries.
The infiltrators had, in their possession, forged Aadhar and voter identity cards and revealed that they were enroute to Delhi to study theology at a ‘Bible College’ run by a Baptist group of evangelists in the national capital.
That the infiltrators, who crossed over into Mizoram last Wednesday and Thursday (September 8 and 9), could get forged Indian identities immediately and travel out of the state with such ease points to a thriving racket. “It is not just the racket of forgery that seems to be booming in Mizoram which is a cause for concern. More dangerous is the apparent gameplan of the Christian missionaries to smuggle out the foreigners from Mizoram and get them admitted to this theological college in Delhi,” a senior Intelligence Bureau (IB) officer told Swarajya.
The IB suspects that more such Myanmarese nationals who entered Mizoram illegally have been provided with forged documents and sent to other parts of India. “How will a person from Myanmar who is fleeing alleged persecution by the military junta there get forged documents immediately on entering Mizoram and then, very shortly, undertake a journey to distant Delhi to study theology? The Church is definitely involved in this,” the IB officer said.
Assam Police officers told Swarajya that the Myanmarese nationals had Indian currency and were awaiting their train tickets to Delhi at the lodge in Guwahati where they were arrested from. “They admitted that they were helped by some people in Mizoram and told to go to Delhi to study theology. They were promised large sums of money for that,” said an officer who did not want to be named.
Investigations by central agencies have revealed a larger game plan of Baptist missionaries who want to train these Myanmarese refugees as pastors and deploy them to ‘spread the Gospel’. “These Chin refugees from Myanmar are fleeing the military junta. Almost the entire Myanmar army is Buddhist and so the Chins, who are Christians, hate the Buddhists and hold the powerful Buddhist clergy responsible for provoking the Myamarerse army to attack and displace them. Minority groups in Myanmar view the Buddhists in that country as supremacists,” said a Delhi-based senior officer working in a central agency.
“The line between Buddhism and Hinduism is deliberately blurred by evangelists in India and they have been engaged in a very silent misinformation campaign that there is little difference between Buddhism and Hinduism and that Indic faiths are intolerant and supremacist. The Myanmarese refugees who have fled attacks and persecution in that country are being held up as living examples of the intolerant nature of Indic faiths,” the officer said.
At the theological colleges run by these evangelical groups, a version of Christianity that preached animosity towards other faiths, especially ‘heathens’, ‘pagans’ and ‘idolaters’--in short, non-Abrahamic and Indic faiths--is disseminated. Those who enrol in these colleges are radicalised and they become pastors who not only harbour a contempt towards Indic faiths, but also spread it among others.
“This is evident from the preachings and sermons of pastors in the tribal areas of Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and other states, as well as Northeast India and parts of South India. These pastors demonise Hindus, spread hatred against Hindus and other Indic religions, and even advocate attacks on Hindus. It is no secret that many of them have links with Maoists,” said the officer.
“The fact that the Chins (the Myanmarese infiltrators) were headed for a Christian theological college in Delhi is proof enough of the deep involvement of the authorities of the college, as well as at least some Christian missionaries in Mizoram, with this whole illegal act of providing forged Indian identity documents to the foreigners to enable them to travel to Delhi and get enrolled into the theological seminary. This has to be probed immediately by a central agency and all players need to be not only exposed, but prosecuted,” said a former IB officer who retired as a joint director and had investigated Christian evangelical groups.
What also needs to be probed, he added, is links that the Baptist evangelists in Mizoram and other parts of the country have with the extremist Christian groups of the in the US. The Baptists in the US, a largely fundamentalist lot with a deep-seated animosity towards non-Christian faiths, have been the major sponsors of evangelists in India.
Central agencies suspect that a number of Chins from Myanmar who have entered Mizoram illegally have dispersed to other states of India. “They (the Chin refugees) will be showcased as victims of persecution by followers of Indic faiths. It has happened in the past; these refugees have been paraded before congregations in some churches and grossly exaggerated accounts of their alleged persecution in Myanmar have been publicized in order to garner sympathy, and donations, for them as well as to drum up antipathy towards Indic faiths,” said the IB officer.
The influx of Christian Chin refugees from Myanmar is a godsend for the missionaries in India. “Poor, helpless and scared, the semi-literate and literate among them are identified for theological training in seminaries to become pastors. The Christian evangelical groups, especially the ‘new age’ Christian orders, are facing a dearth of recruits for theological training and the Chins can tide over this shortage,” said the IB officer.
Officers of central surveillance and intelligence agencies say that the entire affair needs to be probed thoroughly and strong measures taken against the erring missionaries. “There cannot be any doubt that some missionaries and church groups in Mizoram have facilitated the procurement of forged documents (for the Chin infiltrators) and were sending them to Delhi to become pastors. These missionaries and church groups need to be prosecuted. All their links, including that with overseas zealots, need to be probed,” said the IB officer.
The activities of these missionaries and church groups pose a threat to the country. The dispersal of the Chin infiltrators to various parts of the country also represents an internal security threat.
Officers of central intelligence agencies say that the Christian theological colleges and seminaries in various parts of the country also need to be put under the scanner. “There is a compelling need to find out what they teach at these institutions and the antecedents of the instructors as well as the ‘students’. Teaching animosity towards other faiths cannot be allowed,” said the IB officer.
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