Tami Nadu, February, 28, 2012: In an order dated 6 January 2012, the District Collector, Kanyakumari district, has prohibited an Assemblies of God church from conducting services or conventions in their own premises between 13 to 15 of January every year. The Assemblies of God church is located in Attoor, Pallikulivilai, Kalkulam Taluk, Kanyakumari District and has been functioning for the last 46 years. Since 2002 a man named R. Selvaraj has sought to disrupt church services by holding a Kaavu pooja 60 feet from the church using loudspeakers. The District Collector’s unconstitutional and illegal order was passed in order to accommodate this pooja.
This Assembly of God church has been functioning since 1956 and is a part of the South India Assemblies of God (SIAG) organization. Ever since 2002, R. Selvaraj, a mason by profession, has been trying to disrupt the church services by holding a pooja 60 feet from the church. Selvaraj does not own any property in the area and is not even a native of the area. He has nine criminal cases against him in the Tiruvattar police station. Selvaraj is operating with Hindu Munnani, a right wing organization that is against Christians and Muslims and has been trying to create communal disharmony in the area. The owner of the property where the pooja is being held is K. Gunaseelan. The land is covered with trees and bushes and has never been the site of any temple or deity.
Several law and order problems have been caused between the church and the Hindu group since 2002. The Revenue Divisional Officer has frequently held peace talks in order to resolve these issues. An attempt was made by Gunaseelan to construct a temple beside the church. In 2008, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court issued a decree forbidding Gunaseelan and his men from constructing any temple at the site without the written permission of the DC, Kanyakumari District. The Supreme Court of India in 2009 refused to interfere with the High Court’s order. The District Collector has passed her order implying permission to the Hindu group to conduct worship at the disputed site bypassing all government rules and regulations and the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court before allowing a place of worship to commence.
The pastor and its members now fear that with this taste of victory, the next move of the group will be to build a permanent temple and prevent the Church from conducting its normal worship services and convention meetings quoting various types of poojas and festival occasions throughout the year. The senior pastor of the church is Rev C. Simon. He has been the pastor of the Assembly of God church in Attoor since 1982. Please pray for him and his congregation as they are being harassed and false complaints are being lodged against them in the police station. Pray for justice to be victorious and for the order of the District Collector to be quashed.