Arrest of priest on distortion of realities: Catholic Diocese of Lucknow
The diocese said that Rev Fr Dominic Pinto, as director of the Navintha Pastoral Centre, was in no way responsible for a meeting but was only providing the facilities
The arrest and jailing of Rev Fr Dominic Pinto, director of Navintha Pastoral Centre, in Rendwa Palhari (Dewa Road), Barabanki district, recently, was based on misinformation and simple distortion of realities, the Catholic Diocese of Lucknow stated in a release issued on Friday. It described him as an innocent person.
Ten people, including the priest of a church, were arrested for allegedly attempting to convert over 200 Hindus to Christianity through allurement in Barabanki on Monday evening. The accused were booked under various sections of UP Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Act, 2021, and sent to jail after being produced before a competent court on Tuesday, said police.
Spokesperson of the Catholic Diocese of Lucknow, Rev Fr Donald De Souza said, “Rev Fr Dominic Pinto is the director of the Diocesan Pastoral Centre, where many individuals or groups from the local, regional and state come and conduct various seminars, study sessions or meetings. The Navintha Pastoral Centre, with a proper infrastructure and space for meetings, is provided for such groups on request. In the present case, a group of people with their pastors requested the facilities of Navintha to conduct a seminar and meeting on February 5 and the same was granted.”
He said that false information was circulated around the area on the meeting and some fundamentalist religious forces, led by their leaders, barged on the campus and accused the Centre of conversion of Hindus to Christianity, an accusation which was thoroughly false.
The diocese said that Rev Fr Dominic Pinto, as director of the Centre, was in no way responsible for this meeting but was only providing the facilities, as was the normal practice in the past years.
“But sadly, Rev Fr Dominic Pinto was accused of holding the meeting and was further accused of conversion of the people who had gathered for the meeting. This, we declare, is a thorough misrepresentation of facts and full and complete falsification of facts! We declare that Rev Fr. Dominic Pinto was in no way involved, either in calling the people for the meeting or conducting the same but was only the Director, responsible for the material and external arrangements for board and lodge of the group members. The Centre has never been used for any conversion at any time,” he said.
“The diocese demands that all false accusations of conversion et al be withdrawn from the complaint and truth be told before the concerned Courts by those who have accused him of falsehoods and false facts,” the statement read.