Complaints Filed Against FCRA NGO Targeting SC/ST Children for Conversion


GG News Bureau

New Delhi, 6th Dec. Complaints have been filed against a Christian missionary NGO targeting children, especially from nomadic tribes of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, for violating the Juvenile Justice Act, SC ST Act and the FCRA Act. The NGO runs ‘children’s homes’ and targets janjati children for conversion in the name of social service.

Bethanya Vision Trust (BVT), an FCRA NGO operating from TN has been found to be using foreign funds to convert children, targeting Narikuravar and Chenchu janjaati children of TN and AP respectively. It also targets children of daily labourers who cannot afford to send them to schools or have an elderly person to take care of them at home. It runs 2 ‘children’s homes’ in TN and 2 more in AP.

Bethanya Vision Trust claims to be a Christian Ministry on its website. It says that “bearing witness to the Lord Jesus Christ as our only Savior and of the benefits of knowing and following Him” is its motto. The Gypsy New Life Children’s Home, established in 2015, run by the FCRA NGO targets Narikuravar children and houses 60 of them at present with the local pastor heading it. Narikuravar is a nomadic tribe that used to hunt in the wild and sells beads and trinkets now for a living.

They have to leave their families for a longtime and most of the time children are left in the elders’ care. This community has largely been neglected by the government and are not able to access the schemes for the underprivileged or provide proper education to their kids as it needs caste certificates. Hence, they are vulnerable to the missionary predators. Bethanya Vision Trust targets such children and brings them to their ‘children’s home’ promising education.

Quarry workers’ children are targeted in a similar manner and another children’s home is run by Bethanya in Thiruneermalai. It started functioning in 2018 and has 50 inmates now taken care of by pastor Raj and his wife Layaal.

The St Thomas Children’s Home in Chennai houses 30 children of sanitary workers of Chennai Corporation.

Bethanya Vision Trust also runs a Tribal Children’s Home in Andhra Pradesh housing 50 children of Chenchu tribe, native to the state. Established in 2015, this home is also administered by a local pastor.

Apart from these the NGO runs a Community Centre in Donakonda, Andhra Pradesh for the children of daily labourers. From the pictures available on BVT international and BVT India’s website it is clear that these children are made to sit through Christian prayer meetings and pray.

BVT India is associated with Bethanya Vision Trust in Washington, USA which has a fundraising page on its website for many children who have Hindu sounding names while their parents have Christian names. From NGO Darpan portal we get to know that it was funded by Crisis Rescue International Ministries which parades Bharatiya children on its social media pages to beg for funds. It’s YouTube page says, “We operate children’s homes in India ; which is considred the mecca of child sex trafficking in the world”

Taking the “North Americans to perform evangelical outreach and awareness of humantrafficking and provide Christmas celebration with orphaned and rescued children ” is the motive of its mission trips. “Provide Rescue, care and housing to orphans, abandoned children and those trafficked for the purpose of slave labor or sex in the 10/40 parallel window and promote the awareness of human trafficking globally through evangelical mission trips” is how Crisis Rescue International Ministries describes its work.

The 10/40 window is nothing but the countries lying between 10° and 40° North of the equator. The Joshua Project describes it as “Resistant Belt” owing to its occupants’ resistance to Christian proselytisation.

In this regard, Legal Rights Forum has found violations of the Juvenile Justice Act, SC ST Act and Foreign Contribution Regulation Act in the children’s homes run by Bethanya Vision Trust. It has filed complaints highlighting these violations seeking to cancel its FCRA license.

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