04 December 2018
Dhenkanal: “I now baptise you in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” chants Fayaz Rahman, the controversial director of so-called NGO Good News India and then follows it up with forceful thrusting of a minor girls’ head into a water tank.
The viral video of alleged religious conversion in shelter homes that has been doing the rounds in Odisha has received widespread criticism and hate. However, it has still not been ascertained where the video was recorded. While some say, it occurred in West Bengal, some say it is in Odisha’s Kandhamal.
In the video, one can clearly see girls of a Good News India shelter home lined up around a water tank and the managing director Rahman taking the lead in converting the religion of the girls. He is seen standing in the middle of the reservoir and is calling out the names of the girls one-by-one. The girls enter the water reservoir and their head is held by Rahman, who first chants a prayer and then thrusts it into the water. The ritual is then followed for another girl.
The incident becomes even murkier as a confidential email of a GNI’s official to all the NGO’s branches has come to the fore. During the visits and checks from Child Welfare Committee (CWC), the email instructs all the branches’ in-charge to direct the children accordingly:
“They will ask about Youth Camp and baptism activities. Children can say that Youth Camp is a time of recreation, just like a festival. Children need to tell that they do not know anything about baptism program during camp.”
“In some projects like Rayagada and Kandhamal, they might ask the children about past incident. Children should not elaborate on any past incident,” the email adds.
Regarding the intimacy of pastor with kids, children should say that pastor sits with us, asks us about studies, etc as he is our Daddy and cares for us. When asked if pastor kisses and hugs them, the children need to totally refuse this, the sensation email further adds.
While Rahman has already been arrested after some girl inmates levelled charges of sexual harassment against him, Dhenkanal Police has taken him on a two-day remand to interrogate him and elicit more information about the illegal functioning of the shelter home, its foreign links and the baptism practices.