Foreign Funding and Overseas Activities: Concerns Raised over Jesus Redeems' Operations
Foreign Funding and Overseas Activities: Concerns Raised over Jesus Redeems' Operations

Chennai: The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has decided to suspend the FCRA license of Tamil Nadu-based Jesus Redeems, a contentious Christian missionary organisation led by Mohan C Lazarus. This action follows a complaint lodged in November 2023 by the Legal Rights Protection Forum (LRPF), a legal activist group, accusing the outfit of severe breaches of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

The LRPF alleges that Mohan C Lazarus and his organisation, Jesus Redeems, violated provisions of the FCRA, 2010, warranting the suspension or cancellation of their FCRA registration. This is due to illegality in funds received by the group. Lazarus is also accused of disrupting communal harmony through provocative speeches and engaging in proselytisation activities.

Mohan C Lazarus operates a Christian organisation called Jesus Redeems, through which he conducts religious proselytisation activities. He has gained notoriety for allegedly disrupting communal harmony by making anti-Hindu statements. Numerous First Information Reports (FIRs) have been filed against him in various police stations across Tamil Nadu. These FIRs cite sections 153, 153-A(1)(a) & (b), 295-A, 505(1)(b), and 505(2) of the Indian Penal Code. The allegations stem from statements made against Hindu temples and deities during large religious gatherings.

‘Jesus Redeems’ is a registered Christian religious organisation operating in Tamil Nadu under the Indian Trusts Act of 1882, and holds FCRA registration number 076160018. Its founder and signatory authority, Mohan Lazarus, also known as Mohan C. Lazarus, serves as the Chief Executive Officer of a US-registered Public Charity organisation named ‘Jesus Redeems Ministries Inc.’

One of the central allegations revolves around recent amendments to the FCRA rules, explicitly stating that the Chief Functionary of the recipient Indian organisation should not be affiliated with the donor organisation. Allegedly, ‘Jesus Redeems’ has received substantial foreign contributions from ‘Jesus Redeems Ministries Inc., (US),’ a significant foreign donor.

LRPF's complaint focuses on alleged FCRA violations, including causing disharmony between religious groups and receiving funds from banned organizations. It highlights donations received from Compassion International (USA), a banned donor due to controversies involving child conversion. Despite the ban, funds were allegedly diverted to Jesus Redeems through a Chennai-based NGO. The complaint also urges an inquiry into the organization's overseas activities and funding sources.

The complaint raises concerns about foreign funding received from individuals associated with the DANGOTE Group, a Nigerian conglomerate with ties to Chinese companies. Sinoma International Engineering Co., Ltd., a Chinese state-owned company, is highlighted for its involvement in a significant deal with a Nigerian firm owned by the DANGOTE Group. This raises questions about the organization's ties to entities involved in international trade and investment.

The complaint further questions donations received from Indian residents, highlighting a contribution from an individual named Shirly Rohan. It seeks clarification on the basis for accepting donations from Indian residents into the FCRA account.

The suspension of Jesus Redeems' FCRA license underscores concerns regarding compliance with FCRA regulations and allegations of disruptive activities. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs' decision reflects the need for thorough investigations into the organization's funding sources and overseas activities to ensure transparency and adherence to legal standards.

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