Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has said the pastor, arrested recently in the state for allegedly luring people to convert to Christianity, had several cases registered against him, including that of a person’s death.
Talking to reporters on Saturday, Mr Sawant said the state government fully respects the freedom of religion, enshrined in the Indian Constitution, but will not tolerate forced conversions by luring people with money or other incentives.
Pastor Domnic D’Souza and his wife Joan, who used to operate from Saligao village in North Goa, around 20 km from the state capital Panaji, were arrested on Thursday night after separate complaints were lodged against them by two persons, who accused them of indulging in religious conversions, a police official earlier said.
They would allegedly lure people to convert to Christianity by offering cash or promising to cure them of their ailments, the official had said.
Mr Sawant said several instances of forceful religious conversion allegedly by D’Souza in the past were brought to the police’s notice.
There was also a case against him pertaining to the death of a person, whom the pastor had administered a “miracle oil”, the chief minister said.
The action against the pastor was taken as per the law and the investigation against him will continue, Sawant said.
The police have booked the pastor and his wife under Indian Penal Code sections for promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion and for indulging in deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings, as well as provisions of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act.
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