Hopegivers President still jailed as he awaits bond hearing

By March 20, 2006

India (MNN) — President of Hopegivers International Doctor Samuel Thomas is still being held by India police after being arrested last week. Now, agency leaders in the United States are doing all they can to secure his release.

Hopegivers spokesman Bill Bray says Hopegivers went to Capital Hill on Friday. “They are in Washington now continuing this campaign of calling and meeting with the State Department and meeting with senators and Christian friends in Washington to seek a high level intervention.”

Thomas has been in hiding for 28 days after radical Hindus got angry about a book that speaks negatively about two Hindu deities. They accuse Hopegivers of publishing the book.

According to Bray, last week’s arrest of Thomas wasn’t planned. He was actually meeting with the equivalent of the Attorney General at the Supreme Court when the arrest took place. “As Doctor Sam was coming up on the steps of the Supreme Court in New Deli, two jeeps came in with about a dozen armed men, they surrounded the group and four or five of the men physically grabbed Doctor Sam and pushed him into their car.”

When attorneys, human rights leaders and friends objected, Bray says. “While they protested the chief of police, we found out later, pulled his firearm and put it in their face and said, ‘Don’t interfere with this arrest.'”

According to Bray, Thomas was then taken by train to Kota. “A large crowd gathered at the train station there, hundreds of people. Because there was fear that it would turn into a lynch mob, they took him off the train at another stop.”

MNN asked Bray what Thomas is being charged with. He says, “The charges in the arraignment are very, very vague. It’s in Hindi, but it’s something like, ‘creating communal disorder.’ Of course, the Christians have not created any disorder. All of the disorder has been a planned, meticulous conspiracy by the Hindutva extremists.”

Thomas is expected to remain in jail until at least Wednesday. “We have three days before we go before the high court in Jaipur. So, our attorneys will go there on Wednesday and ask the high court to intervene. They’re appealing there to give bail to Doctor Sam and the other Hopegivers employees that are in jail.”

Hopegivers has started a legal defense fund and a letter writing campaign. Go to their website for information.

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