Asylum seeker’s ‘Hindu extremism’ claim rejected, to be deported to India

November 29, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

India, November 29, 2016: An Indian Christian preacher who claimed there was a threat to his life and security due to the “rising tide of Hindu extremism” will be deported to India after having his plea for refugee status rejected by the High Court at Auckland.

Arrested in 2012 for overstaying in New Zealand after his visa expired, the man in his 40s sought to remain in the country on humanitarian grounds. He had told the court Hindu extremists from the Vishv Hindu Parishad were threatening to kill him.

His initial claim for asylum in New Zealand had been rejected by the Immigration and Protection tribunal last year.

Revising his earlier plea, the man identified only as BD, told the court that his time in jail had strengthened his Christian faith and that he will feel compelled to preach Christianity if were to go back to India, which could endanger his life.

His lawyer said a “rising tide of Hindu extremism” under India’s current government, and his client’s intention of converting people to Christianity meant that the High Court to reconsider his case because of the changed circumstances.

Rejecting the plea, Justice peters of the High Court agreed the situation for Christians in India had worsened  since the Modi government came to power in 2014. But he said the man had initially claimed refuge long before that.

Justice Peters also said the applicant had already worked as an evangelist for many years in India, so strengthening of his Christian faith did not increase the risk to his life. BD’s claims that his brother in India had received many  phone calls threatening his life.  Similar claims of threatening phone calls were earlier rejected by the Immigration and Protection Tribunal.

A representative of a Hindu organisation in New Zealand told Fairfax Media that people belonging to all faiths were welcome in India.

– sbs

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