Assam: 2 US nationals detained for alleged propagation of Christianity

| Updated: 04 February, 2024 7:52 pm IST

TEZPUR: In a recent development, Assam Police apprehended two US citizens on Friday for violating their visa conditions. The individuals were taken into custody for allegedly propagating Christianity while on tourist visas, which explicitly prohibited engaging in religious preaching.

The accused, identified as John Matthew Bone and Michael James Flinchum, were arrested following complaints from local residents. They were apprehended at the Baptist Christian Hospital in Tezpur. A case was filed at Kacharigaon Police Station, citing their participation in religious events as a breach of visa regulations.

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Susanta Biswa Sarma, the Superintendent of Police in Sonitpur, confirmed that fines have been imposed on each of the accused. The matter has been forwarded for further legal proceedings.

Sources revealed that the two Americans attended the inauguration of the North Bank Baptist Christian Association office at the Baptish Mission Complex in Tezpur on January 31, sparking concerns over potential violations of visa restrictions.

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Assam’s Chief Minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma, had previously urged religious communities to refrain from converting indigenous people, expressing concern about mainstream religions targeting these communities. “Unfortunately, indigenous communities in India often become the target of conversion efforts by mainstream religions,” the Chief Minister emphasised.

This incident follows a similar case in October 2022 when seven German nationals and three Swedish nationals were detained in Assam’s Golaghat and Dibrugarh districts for allegedly violating visa norms by engaging in missionary activities. The individuals were subsequently transported to Guwahati and deported to their respective countries.

 

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