Interview with Eye Witnesses
Editorial staff: Padam Narayanan claims the “Illegal Confinement” of the girls in MoseMinistries and that the home failed to produce documents related to date and place of birth of the children. Is this correct?
Two German eye witnesses: “That the girls have no birth-certificates is true. However, how can one expect a parent, relative or friend, who just comes to deposit his or her own newborn girl child in the home to surrender the birth certificate of the child, own personal address and telephone number? Would they not do everything possible to disappear unrecognised and swiftly due to the social stigma that was attached to such a cruel act of abandoning a new-born female baby and due to the fear of legal punishment that could follow if apprehended in the act of abandoning a helpless New-Born by governmental authorities? Moreover in the years 1994 to 1999 the issue of birth certificates was neither a legal requirement nor a usual procedure for new-born babies.”
Editorial staff: In his Public Interest Litigation filed at the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court Padam Narayanan from ChangeIndia alleges that MoseMinistries is an unregistered home and an illegal institution. What can you say about that?
(Report Change India, Madurai bench of Madras High Court, WP (MD) 20895 of 2014 dated 23.11.2015)
Two German eye witnesses: “Registration for Child Care Institutions was not required until 2006 (Implementation of JJ Act). Hence the establishment of the home in 1994 didn’t come under the law of registration. In January 2008 MoseMinistries obtained a temporary Recognition Certificate from the government of Tamil Nadu which claimed to be valued until the issue of permanent registration. We know that in the following years MoseMinistries applied several times for permanent registration. The application has remained without any response until today. Instead of that from 2014 onwards the officials came for inspection with a lot of requirements immediately to be fulfilled to attain registration. But once we completed all the changes in a timely manner no-one of the authorities turned up to take any notice of that. MoseMinistries is only one child care institution amongst many others in Tamil Nadu, whose applications for registration have been pending for years.”
Editorial staff: According to Padam Narayanan “the home claimed to have rescued the children from Usilampatti without informing any government officials which is tantamount to kidnapping. So, it is a case of abduction, trafficking, keeping the children in unregistered orphanage without proper records amounting to illegal custody and wrongful confinement of the children." Can you disprove his claim?
(http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/committee-appointed-to-inspect-home/article7925927.ece?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication) (http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/judge-inspects-unregistered-home/article7928883.ece?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication) (https://www.christiantoday.com/article/india.christian.run.orphanage.accused.of.housing.trafficked.girls/72920.htm)
Two German eye witnesses: “As female European Volunteers have always been present in the home from the very beginning till December 2015 we can confirm the following facts as eye-witnesses:
The Collector’s office (DSWO) knew about this home from the very beginning. Especially in Trichy the DSWO has visited the home on a regular base and always attested to the fact that MoseMinistries is one of the most exemplary led homes in whole of Tamil Nadu.
No parent was forced or forcibly persuaded to hand over their children. It was an opportunity that the families voluntarily accepted in order to not “have to” kill their daughters (forcibly brought about due to standards of society). Even though the parents were always well informed about the whereabouts of their children, no parent or any other family member came searching for these girls in all these years – until 2015, when the authorities took over the home! Nor came any police searching for any child at any time. In 1999 MoseMinistries was shifted from Usilampatti to Trichy. The transfer of the girls to Trichy had infrastructural and educational reasons and had been planned from the very beginning. The move of MoseMinistries from Usilampatti was very public and the location of the home was always well known to everyone in Usilampatti and later on in Trichy. The houses in both places were marked with a big board as MoseMinistries and as a humanitarian project of the Christian church federation “Good Shepherd Evangelical Mission” for the relief of women and children in need.
The late Panchajat Thalaivar of Usilampatti, Akkini Thevar, whom we know in person, was fascinated by the vision of saving girl babies from female infanticide and supported us wholeheartedly. He was the one speaking with the families and the hospital staff and bringing the babies soon after birth. We witness that Pastor Gideon Jacob never received any child himself! He as the leader of GSEM was just the bearer of the vision and the responsible person for the financial affairs of the ministry. He visited Usilampatti only occasionally for supervision. Akkini Thevar took over the responsibility for the entire process of handing over the babies to the home. For his own security he had the idea of compiling documents which he had signed by the parents or relatives. Pastor Gideon Jacob neither signed any of these papers nor had he anything to do with these papers. All information about the girl’s background came to us by hearsay.
We can also confirm for sure that none of the girls we received were lost or sold! No illegal activity, human trafficking or abuse of any kind has taken place and none of the girls have made any complaint of abuse at any time.”
Editorial Staff: The Judge who passed orders on the writ Petition filed by Padam Narayanan, alleged that the girls of MoseMinistries have been brainwashed. He stated: “The children are virtually suffering from a syndrome, something similar to Stockholm syndrome that makes them believe very strongly that Pastor Gideon Jacob is their only saviour.” Can you describe the factual conditions under which you have brought up the girls?
Two German eye witnesses: “The children were rejected and given away by their parents directly after birth and the girls knew the facts that their parents and biological families had abandoned them as newborn babies. We can certify that in all these years none of these parents and families showed any interest in their daughters or visited them. Throughout their entire childhood they knew only Pastor Gideon Jacob and his wife, the caretakers and the other children of the home as their family. Therefore it is normal that Pastor Gideon Jacob was seen as a father by them, but never ever as a savior. Stockholm syndrome is a condition that causes hostages to develop a psychological alliance with their captors as a survival strategy during captivity. The girls of MoseMinistries have never been in captivity until the authorities took over the home. Since then for more than two years the girls have been in an artificial confinement, totally isolated. MoseMinistries has always been more than just a child care institution. It has been a huge family and there have been different caregivers to whom the girls related most closely and whom they trusted. We have never observed an unhealthy fixation of only one person like Pastor Gideon Jacob or anyone else.”
Editorial Staff: According to Padam Narayanan all the children were brought up in artificial environment. The girls were forbidden contact with persons outside the orphanage in their schools and neighborhood and they only know Jesus Christ, Bible and Pastor. Is this a misrepresentation of facts? Can you give us an honest presentation of evidence?
Two German eye witnesses: “All girls were sent to good public schools up to at least 9th standard (most of them finished even 12th standard). This proves clearly that they had the opportunity to be in contact with classmates, friends and teachers. Classmates even visited the home. As the girls got older, more attention was given to their safety and protection. The leaders and co-workers of the home were very aware of the sad truth that teenage girls are exposed to many dangers in India and that their status of being “home children” makes them even more vulnerable and an easy target in their own society. Therefore the girls were always under supervision, wherever they went. They never went out alone but always in groups and in the company of adult female caretakers. The concern for their safety may have sometimes limited their freedom more than in a normal family situation … that much is true of the accusation that the girls were isolated in the home without being allowed to visit other places. Yes, they were allowed – but never alone, and their security was always the first priority!
Being brought up in a Christian home doesn’t mean to be brainwashed! As every family raises their children in their own belief and traditions, the MoseMinistries children grew up in a Christian environment with prayer times, teachings from the Bible and taking part in church life. Going to public schools brought them in touch with other religions. They were always free to choose which faith they wanted to follow. Nobody was ever forced to accept the Christian faith. Unfortunately they experienced the dominance of Hindu religion in a way that they were forced at school to join yoga and other Hindu rituals. If they made a request not having to join such classes they faced severe punishment like beating or standing outside in the heat for hours.
Those who accepted the Christian faith did this of one’s own free will - some of them even took baptism in December 2017, after two years under the care of the government authorities (DSWO)!”
Editorial Staff: Another disturbing accusation of Padam Narayanan relates to Pastor Gideon Jacob, using the children to make money. He alleges that the girls were taken to Germany and Poland to make them sing and make money. Have you accompanied the girls on this tour to Europe?
Two German eye witnesses: “A special highlight for some of the girls was the opportunity to travel to Germany to visit friends of MoseMinistries. We travelled with them for 4 weeks around the country, a time in which they were able to learn a lot about the culture and the “foreign ways” there. Meetings were arranged for the girls to participate with other children of their age as a form of cultural exchange they all enjoyed very much. For this reason the girls learned Indian dances and loved the opportunity to share their beautiful Indian tradition with others. At no point was money ever exchanged for this, no begging took place! For the entire period of their stay, they had four German and two Indian female care takers who watched over them day and night and even drove the vans! We were two of the care takers by ourselves and can witness to the fact that, in contradiction to all the accusations, at no point was the girls’ overseas trip used for any abusive purpose. In comparison, the trip rather served to broaden their horizons in a big way, for both sides involved. All the girls were healthy, happy and returned home from their trip to MoseMinistries in sound condition.”
Editorial Staff: Is it true that all the girls are school drop-outs and that they were given only basic learning for reading the Bible, as Padam Narayanan claims?
Two German eye witnesses: “The school certificates which are now in the hands of the authorities prove that all the girls, without any exception, were sent to good public schools. Throughout the girls’ years of schooling great attention was given to the compulsory study times in the mornings before school and in the evenings after school. Every evening female teachers came to the MoseMinistries compound to give tuition to the girls in all their subjects according to their standard and to prepare them for their exams. In this way 57 of the 89 girls reached High School graduation (12th standard), which opens a way for them to further education. Another 19 girls finished 10th standard. Due to learning disabilities, 12 of the girls were unable to achieve any graduation. Until the authorities took over the home, these girls had the chance with private individual teaching to prepare themselves for the 10th standard exams. Eunice, the eldest of the girls is mentally handicapped. To give her a chance too and for those who are slow learners and who need special attention, several vocational training opportunities were established for example a Bakery Apprenticeship with international products. We personally could see how especially girls with learning disabilities were not only strengthened in their self-confidence through special support but also developed in their working capacity up to the level that they were able to grasp and realize whole work procedures in theory and practice.”
Editorial Staff: Padam Narayanan speaks about religious exploitation in view of MoseMinistries. He said he wants to take the case to the United Nations to end religious exploitation. What does this accusation mean?
Two German eye witnesses: “In another place he states, that we groomed the girls for evangelistic work, but nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, some of them expressed their desire to become Bibleteachers or missionaries but out of their own free will. Others wanted to study law or science. One girl expressed her wish to become a teacher for disabled children and so on - normal youth girls with their own plans and dreams. When the government took over the home and stopped all ongoing studies, the girls and young women were just at that time in the process of getting ahead in life and being able to overcome the rejection and the pain of being an “unwanted daughter of India”, becoming young women full of self-confidence and hope for their future. Knowing deeply what it means to be rejected and then fall in the hands of people who give unconditioned love, support, hope and a future and restore destroyed self-confidence and dignity, a deep desire had grown within them to contribute to the welfare of their mother-country and to stand up for justice and for compassion with the weak of their nation. Gideon Jacob saw the value of these girls and their lives in the light of God’s love and inspired and encouraged others to get involved as well in the struggle for life in India. The accusation that the Christian faith was imposed on the girls is a farce in the light of the fact that the only people who committed themselves to the cause of these girls, to save their lives, were always the very same people who saw God’s value in them and who were driven by God’s love. This same God, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the God the girls started to trust as years went by and they have never been disappointed. Even now after two years of confinement, totally isolated and as adults deprived of their rights of freedom, of education and of a self-determined life they only survive because they have a God in whom they can put their trust and experience his help and comfort in spite of the painful worries they face every day. We never forced them to study theology or do any missionary work. Those who took up theological studies did this out of their own conviction and interest.”
Editorial Staff: Padam Narayanan received report from to interns who visited and inspected MoseMinistries on behalf of his NGO ChangeIndia. They reported about various violations of Children’s Rights: shabby dormitories, unhygienic, isolated environment, without counsellors and mentors; no locals except Pastor’s friends visited them, forcibly involvement into prayer, groomed for evangelistic work and so on. What can you say about that?
Two German eye-witnesses: “We are eye-witnesses that until 2014 MoseMinistries has been inspected regularly (at least twice a year) by the DSWO and other officials. These government authorities always attested to the fact that MoseMinistries at all levels is one of the most exemplary led homes in whole of Tamil Nadu. There has never been any complaint! Surprisingly and strangely enough from 2014 onwards until today the very same authorities and the very same DSWO have caused discredit to the home.”
Editorial Staff: Padam Narayanan adheres to his allegations of emotional abuse and sexual exploitation. Are you able to debunk these allegations?
Two German eye-witnesses: “We oppose clearly and vehemently the accusation that any kind of sexual or emotional abuse happened at any time in the MoseMinistries Home or to any of these girls. We had a constant insight into the daily life of the girls and could build a relationship with each of them. Having seen the development of their personality, their open and generally positive and joyful behavior along with their life-affirming determination, there is no doubt in the conclusion that their environment was stable and secure! In none of our conversations with the girls was there even a hint of evidence of sexual abuse or assault nor did the girls show any symptoms which would have indicated any suspicion of any kind of physical or emotional abuse or exploitation. There were always security staff on the MoseMinistries compound to protect the compound as well as the girls. We are witnesses that these men were very carefully chosen.”
Editorial Staff: Padam Narayanan claims that several Children from MoseMinistries had gone missing according to name lists from various sources. Is this true?
Two German eye-witnesses: “As we were always present in the home throughout all the years until the government took over the home in 2015 we are witnesses to the fact that no girl has gone missing. Since the investigations started again and again different lists from „various sources“ have been produced with different names and numbers of girls which is very confusing and can’t be taken serious at all.”