On Wednesday, three Swedish nationals were apprehended in Assam’s Dibrugarh district on charges of violating their visa conditions and preaching Christianity. They were released after paying US $ 500 (41,500) in fines, according to a district official. According to Assam Police, because they were in India on tourist visas, preaching Christianity was a violation of visa rules.
Marcus Arne Henrik Bloom, Hannah Mikaela Bloom, and Susana Elisabeth Hakanason, according to police, arrived in India on October 19 and travelled to Assam on October 24.
“We were told they were involved in missionary work and were preaching at a church in Namrup.” According to Dibrugarh Police Superintendent Shwetank Mishra, “we collected photo and video evidence and found the allegation to be true.”
Three Swedish nationals detained in Assam for violating Foreigners’ Act
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The three were trying to lure people to convert to Christianity in tea garden areas in the region, and they were arrested while running a proselytization event. They were trying to lure people in the area to Christianity under the pretext of a program titled “Peace and Healing Prayer Festival” scheduled from October 25 to 27. The event is being organised at Achabam Ghinai 1 No. playground in Nakarkatia by United Churches Fellowship and Bless Assam Mission Network.
People were invited to seek blessings and be healed at the event, but the program’s true goal was to convert locals to Christianity.
DSP Namrup, Naba Kumar Borah, confirmed the development, saying, “Three Swedish nationals came for a meeting in Naharkatia and as per their tourist visa, they are not supposed to deliver any lectures.”
The prayer meeting is being held with permission from authorities and is organised by United Churches Fellowship, a group of several churches. Following the trio’s arrest, a large crowd gathered outside the police station, mostly from tea gardens, to protest the arrest. They chanted anti-police slogans and began praying there.