Indore administration cancels Christian prayer meet, cites law and order

Assistant election officer of Indore Lok Sabha constituency cancels permission for the meet granted on 5 April

Representative image
Representative image


The Indore administration has cancelled the permission for a prayer meeting of the Christian community scheduled in the city on Wednesday, citing the law and order situation, officials said on Tuesday.

Chennai-based Christian preacher Dr Paul Dhinakaran was slated to address about 8,000 persons as the keynote speaker at the meeting.

In an order issued on Sunday, an assistant election officer of the Indore Lok Sabha constituency in Madhya Pradesh cancelled the permission for the prayer meeting, for which a go ahead was given on 5 April.

The order stated that there is opposition to the meeting from Hindu outfits and other social organisations, which have filed a complaint in this connection with the poll officer.

Following the complaint, the in-charge of Tukoganj police station in Indore submitted a report on the law and order situation, based on which the permission granted earlier was cancelled.

In the complaint by representatives of different Hindu organisations to the assistant election officer on 5 April, it was alleged that the prayer meeting is being organised with an intention to mislead people of the Hindu community and encourage them to convert. "There is a strong possibility that the event might disturb peace," the complaint said, adding that its permission should be cancelled.

Suresh Carleton, chairman of the prayer meet's organising committee, rejected the allegations of the Hindu organisations. "Only those 8,000 persons of the Christian community who live in Madhya Pradesh were invited to the meeting, and we were going to pray collectively for the happiness, peace and harmony of the country," he told PTI.

He said the prayer meeting was to be held under the banner of the 'National Prayer and Ministry Alliance', an outfit led by Dr Dhinakaran, who was going to participate in the programme as keynote speaker.

Carleton had filed a petition before the Indore bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court challenging the administration's order to cancel the permission for the prayer meeting at the last moment.

After hearing both sides, a bench of Justice Subodh Abhyankar rejected the petition on Monday. "This court is of the considered opinion that it might be true that the intention of the petitioner to convene such meeting must be purely religious in nature, however, the concern raised by the respondents can also not be said to be unfounded, looking to the various objections they have received from other religious organisations," the bench said.

"In such circumstances, the possibility of apprehension raised by the respondents of disruption of the law and order situation can also not be said to be unsubstantiated," the order said.

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