Top bureaucrat restricted from attending Christian worship

Posted Jan 28, 2015 by George Varkey
Controversy has kicked off in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, after the state government warned a civil service official from attending or addressing Christian meetings.
C Umashankar.
C Umashankar.
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C Umashankar, who converted to Christianity from Hinduism in 2008, has decided to challenge the order sent to him by the chief secretary of Tamil Nadu, at a court of justice. The government order that he be prevented from preaching or attending Christian worship or meetings. The government warned that appropriate action would be taken against him in case he violates the directive.
According to the officer, the chief secretary’s argument was that his involvement in Christian activities would result in communal disharmony and that his actions were a violation of service rules stipulated for All India Service officers.
The action taken by the state government has received accolades from Hindu Munnani (Hindu Front), a religious group in the state.
Meanwhile, Umashankar has argued that the government action is a restriction of his fundamental right to practice the religion of his choice and that he is being targeted by Hindu political groups for exposing their corruption.
“Though I have accepted the directive of the government, I am going to challenge it in a court of justice. If I go to a church and preach the gospel during my free hours, what harm does that cause to others?” he asked.
Current and former advocates of the Madras High Court in Tamil Nadu have stated that Article 25 of the Constitution of India provides a citizen, the right to profess, practice and propagate religion. State government does not have the right to restrain someone from practising his/her choice of religion, they said.