'Police interfere in activities of Protestant churches'

'Police interfere in activities of Protestant churches'

Pastors have been told to take permission from the DC before holding prayer meetings.

Addressing the media here on Saturday, Network Chairman Walter J Maben said that pastors had been summoned to five police stations in August and were told to obtain permission from the Deputy Commissioner to continue holding regular church gatherings or prayer meetings in churches or other places.

“We hold prayers in the houses for the benefit of the sick,” he said.  A church in Surathkal had planned a gathering at a hotel on August 21 but the police denied permission, forcing the church authorities to rent a community hall, he said.

Maben said that all this was done in the name of giving protection to the people. However, the police have not given any written document in this regard.  When the Catholic Sabha and the Karnataka Missions Network met City Police Commissioner Seemant Kumar Singh, he had promised the delegation that they could go ahead with their activities. “Even after obtaining his assurance, we have learnt that police had interfered in two cases.”

“We will continue to worship and hold prayer gatherings at houses and other places without permission. We are offering prayers at around 45 places in and around the city,” he added.  Treasurer Alwyn Colaco said that he was also summoned by the Mangalore South police, but had told them that he could not attend and had sent his wife instead.

Karnataka chapter of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties Vice-president Suresh Bhat said no one can dictate terms on how a religious institution could go about its activities.

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