Did UPA-era Ambassador to USA Ronen Sen illegally grant visas for Christian Mormon missionaries?

Abuse of Bharat’s visa system by foreign religious missionaries is a known issue. It came to public light recently in a big way after over 1000 foreign Tablighi Jamaat preachers, who had violated their tourist visa conditions, got exposed as super-spreaders of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But the biggest abuse of the tourist visa has been done by Christian missionaries. And now an expose by missionkaali.org shows that these missionaries very likely have been getting a helping hand from top levels of Bharat’s bureaucracy & diplomats, especially when ‘secular’ parties are in power.

Ronen Sen is a very well known veteran diplomat and was Bharat’s Ambassador to the US from May 2004-2009 during UPA-1. He has also served as Ambassador to the UK, Germany, Russia, and Mexico. He is often commended for his efforts to seal the US-India nuclear deal.

Ronen Sen

Mormon Church or the Church of the Latter-Day-Saints (LDS) headquartered in Utah is said to be a non-trinitarian, Christian restorantist Church founded by Joseph Smith in 1830 who wrote the new religion’s holy book ‘The Book of Mormon’. Smith was a colorful character, to say the least, and ‘The Book of Mormon’ states that God cursed people of colour. Although Mormon Church has now abolished polygamy, it is still practised by some fundamentalist Mormons. With 6 million members in US and 14 million worldwide, it is considered one of the fastest-growing religions. As per 2018 figures, there are said to be almost 14,000 Mormons in Bharat.

Every young Mormon man is expected to serve a two-year mission overseas – currently, there are more than 50,000 Mormon missionaries serving the church across the globe. Mormons value entrepreneurialism and are very well represented in US business and politics. It’s a very-very rich Church – with assets worth more than $30 billion, and getting $5 billion in donation from the faithful every year.

Mormon Church

As with all Christian sects, Bharat is the prime target for proselytisation and soul harvesting, even within the ‘10/40 window‘ (rectangular area encompassing South Asia, Middle East, China etc approximately between 10 degrees north and 40 degrees north latitude identified by missionary strategists as the region where majority of the world’s non-Christians, i.e Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims etc reside). Bharat’s “tolerance” for the missionary mafia is legendary, and it offers easy pickings compared to the far more dangerous path evangelicals have to tread in Muslim countries or communist/single-party dictatorships.

In 2016, a series of videos titled ‘Mormon Leaks’ were released by an activist group which promotes transparency within religious institutions. The leaked videos show internal documents and videos of the LDS Church in Salt Lake City, Utah.

In one of these leaked videos, originally recorded on 8th February, 2009, the former US Senator Gordon Smith (he was in office from January 3, 1997 – January 3, 2009) addressed a closed-door meeting of senior Mormon church members on the topic ‘Washington Public Affairs’.

In the talk, Gordon Smith, also a Bishop of the Mormon Church, talks on various political topics and how he acted as an advocate of the Mormon Church while being a US Senator. He talks about how devout Mormons in US Senate and other Government office offer the Mormon Church access and influence.

Towards the end of the talk, a Mormon Church leader says, “I hope that the miracle of these brethren being in Washington will be repeated, and worthy brothers & sisters rise to elective office around the world to carry the burden. There is a political and economic component which is vital in how the Church operates;  some of the critical gating decisions that are made as the Church enters other countries, things happen in Government due to intervention that has taken place.”

At this point, Smith interrupts him to give an example to the audience of such ‘intervention’.

Senator Gordon Smith says –

“I called for an appointment with India’s Ambassador to USA, Ronen Sen…they come immediately to a Senator’s office. Ambassador Sen is a quiet and meek man, a nice person. I began the meeting by talking about the growing US-India relationship while sharing values like freedom of conscience, religious free exercise, truly important to the future between our nations.

I told Ambassador Sen, the (Mormon) Church was not being treated fairly in India. Ambassador Sen agreed and said, ‘I know, I have met with (Church) president Hinkley and I promised him I would do something.’ And he (Sen) said, ‘Just send your Indian converts to India.’ I said I don’t know how many (Indian converts) we have, but surely we can do better than that. The meeting broke up with, I think, Ambassador Sen feeling guilty he had not delivered on his promise to (Mormon) President Hinkley.

Next day, Ambassador Sen called me and said he hadn’t been able to sleep all night, and he had an idea. ‘You send to me the visas you need for your missionaries, and I will issue them over my signature, and we will establish a pattern of dealing that will get around the Indian bureaucracy.’ He asked me ‘how many you need, Senator?’ I said we need 200. He said, ‘Ok, send me 200.'”

Smith then adds he called another Church member and asked him to go to the Ambassador’s home and ‘codify’ this the best we can. He ends by saying we have 2 missions in India now, and it started from this meeting (with Ambassdor sen). He suggests the audience use other Mormon senators — Mike Crapo of Idaho, Orrin Hatch and Bob Bennett of Utah, and Harry Reid of Nevada — in similar ways.

It is not immediately known what happened after this incident. But if Ronen Sen has acted in the manner pointed out in the leaked videos, then there is a case for Immigration fraud, as an Indian tourist visa cannot be used for religious activities by missionaries. Even missionary visa is issued for Missionary work not involving proselytization, and it cannot be used by preachers and evangelists who desire to come to India on propaganda campaigns.

An equal rights group in the United States have called for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to investigate the Mormon Church for the allegation that they sought “favors” from the Bharatiya government through the then-senator Smith. In November 2019, a whistleblower filed a complaint with US’ Internal Revenue Service (IRS) alleging Mormon Church used members contributions to amass more than $100 billion in tax-exempt investment funds and misled its members about uses of the money.

The case is ongoing.

In the talk, Smith also reveals how he voted for the Iraq war despite being a critic – the Iraq war was launched by American neo-cons under false pretext of Saddam Hussein harboring weapons of mass destruction – because he felt the “Lord’s hand” in it. He believes the war helped create ‘rule of law’ which is essential for missionaries to operate in Arabia. “Our missionaries always follow in the footsteps of American soldiers,” he recounts an American army man telling him. “The Lord governs in the affairs of nations, even if the nations don’t know it,” he says.

Hindus of Bharat sure are not aware that the ‘Lord’ has been governing them whenever Congress has ruled at the centre.

References

1. apnews.com

2. https://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=5091342&itype=CMSID

3. https://religionunplugged.com/news/2019/12/16/whistleblower-exposes-100-billion-stockpile-by-mormon-church

You can also sign a petition to Ministry of External Affairs, Govt. of India, to revoke the Padma award of Ronen Sen over the alleged visa fraud.


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