Indian evangelist denied refugee status in New Zealand to be deported

Wellington, Nov 24 (IANS) An Indian Christian evangelist in New Zealand will be deported despite his claims that “Hindu extremists” in India have threatened to kill him, media reported on Thursday.

The man, identified only as BD, was detained and jailed in 2012 for overstaying his visa. Since then, the Indian Christian evangelist has been fighting the deportation order on humanitarian grounds, reported.

The Immigration and Protection Tribunal turned down his first claim for refugee status in 2015. He made another claim saying that his stay in jail had strengthened his Christian faith so much, that the preaching he would be compelled to do when back in India would put his life in danger.

However, in a decision this week, Auckland High Court’s Justice Peters rejected the claim, reported the website.

The Indian Christian evangelist’s lawyer urged the High Court to reconsider his client’s entitlement to refugee status by saying that his return to the country might land him in deep trouble, according to the media report.

Hindu and Christian leaders in Auckland’s Indian community, however, labelled BD’s religious claims a “baseless” excuse to remain in the country. Veer Khar, a Hindu and the president of the Indian Central Association, said all faiths were tolerated in India.

Justice Peters noted “whether or not (the man’s) faith has intensified” did not increase his risk of attack, because he was already a well-known evangeliser.

BD had claimed that his brother in India had received several threatening telephone calls, but Justice Peters dismissed those claims.

Ilamgo Krishna Moorthy, the president of the New Zealand Hindu Temple Association, said “a lot of evangelists” visited India regularly and the man would not be stopped.