Arrested US pastor in hospital for chest pain

Published 17 October 2011  |  
Pastor William Lee, who was arrested by the Kerala police for allegedly violating visa norms, has been admitted at the Thrissur Medical College after he complained of chest pain.

The US-based pastor against whom the police earlier issued lookout notice was reportedly taken to the government general hospital when he complained of chest pain and breathing trouble.

"He has complained of chest pain and respiratory problems. The doctors are closely examining him. We have not started any medication so far," Thrissur Medical College superintendent R Mahadevan was quoted by the Times of India, as saying.

Lee was arrested on Saturday after a statewide sweep was conducted by the police. Police said Lee had vanished from the venue spot after he was stopped from speaking and was asked to leave the country. The pastor was arrested from an island resort.

According to the police, Lee had violated Indian visa norms by conducting a musical convention at Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium in Kaloor, Kochi.

Following his arrest, Lee was remanded in judicial custody and taken to the Ernakulam sub-jail.

Lee had gone missing along with evangelist Ron Kenoly and a woman associate.

The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) in a statement condemned what it called a "selective arrest" and said hundreds of tourists from abroad visit India and get actively involved in various religious programs and public discourses without any restraints or objections.

"Reports from various sources also indicate that Evangelist William Lee was being hunted like a terrorist, to please the 'Right wing terrorists' of India. Lee had only participated in indoor musical program," GCIC said.

"Those entering on tourist visas are prohibited from conducting any religious prayer sessions. But, then, do such norms apply only to Christian prayers? Are Bhajans and other public discourses are exempted from the ambit of visa regulations for others?" the advocacy group queried.

GCIC said the moral policing, sectarian violence and the selective arrest of Christian evangelists, demonstrated a failure of secular institutions in India.

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