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Pastor tortured in Jorhat
Published on 25 May. 2009 12:12 AM IST
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Pastor of Rankham Baptist Church Selenghat, Tarun Gogoi under Jorhat district in Assam was reportedly arrested and tortured on May 8 by personnel of the Assam Police Battalion posted at Rajabari Border observation Post (BoP) on suspicion of having links with Naga underground and receiving donations from Nagaland side for construction of the church. He was later handed over to Teok Police Station. According to a press statement issued by district informatics officer (NIC) DC office, Mokokchung, Er. Temsu Wathi Ao who is also the president, Assam Valley Baptist Mission (AVBM) and coordinator, Border Peace Coordination Committee (A-N), the pastor was released the next day through the initiative of the church leaders of the Sibsagar Baptist Association. With regard to the incident, the AVBM, a conglomeration of 44 Baptist Churches of which Rankham Baptist Church is also an active constituent member, has demanded immediate legal action from the authority responsible against those guilty for the ill treatment meted out to the pastor. The AVBM during its emergency executive meeting Sunday held at its Nakachari HQ also decided to hold a public meeting at Rankham public ground on May 29 at 10 am to discuss the entire episode and work out an amicable solution. The Jorhat district administration and Police, Mariani MLA Shri Rupjyoti Kurmi, officials from Sibsagar Baptist Association, AVBM, Border Peace Coordination Committee (A-N), Officer-in-charge of Teok police, Rajabari BoP, Chutiabari BoP, Village Defense Party (VDPs) of the area, church leaders and prominent public leaders have been invited to the gathering. The statement further stated that neighbouring Yajang-C village church community recently donated one tractor load of stone chips for the ongoing Rankham Baptist Church construction on good-will gesture. But rumors reached the authority that Nagas were using the pastor to convert the local populace to Christianity by extending donations in cash and in kind to further develop the area and also by means of sponsoring other infrastructures which might gradually lead to occupying Assam’s land by the Nagas. Receiving the allegations, the administration has ordered to stop the construction work temporarily and that movement of people from neighbouring Nagaland state to the area has also been restricted, the statement added.

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