D.T. entered the United States on December 20, 2015. The 25 year-old had left his home in India two days prior, to attend a broadcaster’s show in Las Vegas. Arriving at JFK, he declared he was seeking asylum and was immediately detained, handcuffed, shackled and sent to the Elizabeth Detention Center. On December 23, 2015, he underwent a Credible Fear Interview, without the aid of a lawyer.
D.T. has two sisters who live in southern India, on the shore of the Arabian Sea. His family is one of a small minority of Roman Catholics, living in a Hindu country, where Hindu extremists are supported by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government. D.T. is a devout believer, who attended Mass daily since he was confirmed at the age of 13. Becoming a missionary to a small village five to six km from his home, he brought Bibles and Christian books with him and promoted Christianity.
In January 2015 he was chased by Hindu extremists, who threw rocks at his small group of missionaries. This occurred again in September 2015 when he was attacked by the extremists, beaten with wooden rods and threatened with death if he ever returned. D.T. reported that each attack was made by a different gang of extremists. There were certainly more than five men out to get him.
D.T. went to the police but his report was not taken as the police are paid off by the Hindu extremists. He feels that had the police been present at the attack, they would have done nothing. Christianity is not outlawed in India, but the aim of the Hindu extremists is to prevent its spread. D.T. was fearful of extremists in the village, but also in his home town. Because of the BJP government’s support of Hindu extremists, nowhere is safe in India for D.T. His fear was heightened by the death of an uncle who was killed by Hindu extremists for running a Catholic mission school in India.
D.T. spent 11 months at Elizabeth Detention Center in Elizabeth, NJ. First Friends of NJ and NY provided him comfort by sending him a volunteer visitor there. Without any support of family and Friends in the United States, D.T. requested post release support from First Friends upon release from detention. On November 17th to D.T.’s elation, he was granted asylum and released from detention. First Friends has provided housing to D.T. and is helping him transition to his new community. He is now free to practice and share his faith, unafraid.