Three persons, associated with the seven German tourists who were deported back to their country on Sunday for violation of visa rules in Assam, have been arrested but the charges against them have not yet been revealed because it “is a matter of investigation”.
A senior police official told The Telegraph that the duo, including an evangelist from Jharkhand and two persons from Karbi Anglong, accompanying the German tourists, were arrested on Saturday and the local court has given two days’ police remand.
“The court on Tuesday sent the trio to two days judicial custody,” the official said but did not share any detail about the trio, including the charges against them, their names or their addresses because investigation was on.
According to sources, the person from Jharkhand has been identified as one 35-year-old Mukut Bodra hailing from West Singhbhum district while one of the persons from Karbi Anglong has been identified as 55-year-old Bornabas Terang from Dolamara area of Karbi Anglong distrit, a tribal-dominated district.
“Investigation is on. The owner of the resort where they all stayed was also questioned, but not arrested,” one of the sources said.
The police had said on Saturday, the day the seven Germans were allowed to go after paying a fine of $500 each for violating visa norms, that the trio were being questioned for their “role and association” with the seven tourists, who were charged with indulging in missionary activities during their trip to Karbi Anglong district. The Germans left for their country in four different flights from Delhi on Sunday, another source said.
“Apparently, all the seven people (Germans) came on their recommendation. We are looking into how they (Germans) were called and what all happened and transpired,” the police official had said.
The trio remained “restrained” after the departure of the seven Germans from the Kaziranga National Park in Golaghat where they were all putting up. The KNP is about 190km from Guwahati.
A member of an Assam-based Christian organisation, who did not wish to be named, said they are also hearing about the arrests but have no details except that the person from Jharkhand is a tourist guide while the two others are from Karbi Anglong, including a pastor. All are linked to the church.
He also said the detention of the Germans in Golaghat district, and before them of the Swedish trio in Dibrugarh district, have prompted community leaders to try find out from the local organisers/church as to exactly what happened during their visit.
“What kind of missionary activities, including possible proselytisation, were carried out as has been reported. Law will take its course if they have violated any rules but we need to know what actually happened. A stock-taking is required before a detailed response is made,” the person said.
The Christian community accounts for 3 per cent of the state’s about 3.2-crore population.
Altogether 27 foreign tourists — 17 from Bangladesh, seven from Germany and three from Sweden — had been fined in Assam for visa norm violations since September. The police had been asked to keep a close watch on possible proselytisation.