Thugs, Police at Calcutta Church Elections

 Karen Mkrtchian

KOLKATA, India, Nov. 10, 2013–The age-old Armenian community of Kolkata (Calcutta) gathered today behind the closed doors of the Armenian Holy Church of Nazareth to elect a new committee that would manage the assets of the church which runs into millions of dollars.

Every four years the community meets at a general meeting to elect a committee that would manage the affairs of the community. This year’s election was remarkable as some Armenians were left behind the closed gates of the church.

“At about 10 am we arrived at the church and found the gates locked. We were denied entry,” said Anthranick Khachatourian, one of the Armenians kept out of the meeting. Khachatourian is a Kolkata-born Armenian who was baptized at the Armenian Holy Church of Nazareth. He is currently involved with NGOs in Kolkata and Jharkand.

“What is going on here is genocide without the killing,” said Khachatourian. “It is a well-concieved plan to wipe out our community. They have shut down the Davidian Girls School in the name of repairs and the doors of our Armenian clubs are always closed. The church seems to have money for the Hindus, the Anglo-Indians and the Buddhists, while the local poor Armenians are left neglected,” said Khachatourian, who said he wasn’t allowed entry because the committee knew he would expose them.

“At about 10:30 am, thirty minutes before the general meeting a truck full of some 40 young thugs arrived at the scene and threatened to beat us up,” said Max Khachadourian, Anthranick’s father who was also left out of the meeting. He said the thugs had said that the church authorities had called them to the scene and promised them refreshments for their services. There was also a big contingent of police force called at the scene. “Why did the church authorities have to bring around 50 policemen and policewomen against three Armenians? Were we such a danger to them?” questioned Max, who said the police had told them that they had orders to arrest them, if they tried getting in.

Margaret Sarkies-Keller was also not allowed to the meeting. She said she was informed that she did not have the right to be present at the meeting and to vote. “I am a full-blooded Armenian and my father Charles (Chacha) Sarkies served this church for 30 years until his death in 2011. I was baptized in this very church and they won’t let me in,” said Sarkies-Keller who is an Australian citizen but has a Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card. She also alleged that she had received threats from the thugs called by the church committee.

“They did not offer appropriate care to my father when he was sick,” said a tearful Sarkies-Keller. “He was totally neglected and died with bed-sores all over his body. I will never forgive them,” she said and added that she wanted to restore dignity and respect in the community.

Calling the elections null and void, Sonia John, the former chairperson of the church, expressed her dissatisfaction about the state of affairs. “People like the clergy and the Armenian teachers who were not entitled to vote had been brought in to ensure that they win,” said Sonia John, who was not allowed entry to the previous general body meeting in 2009 on the grounds that she wasn’t Armenian. The wardens had brought a case against her regarding her Armenian identity in the Calcutta High Court which she won. That is why she wasn’t stopped from taking part this year.

The three Armenians have filed a complaint at the local police station and have no intention of letting the matter go.

“We are going to stay and fight these people. We need to make sure our community is looked after and taken care off. All the money left by the benevolent Armenians are for the local Armenians. We want to make sure they get what is rightfully theirs. What is happening now is disgraceful and an insult to the rich legacy our forefathers left behind in this country. We may have lost this battle today, but the war to revive our community is still on,” said Khachatourian.

By late Sunday, Nov. 10, the Armenian church committee could not be contacted regarding the above allegations.

  1. Shame in India

    It is a shameful event in the history of the Armenians of India. The Armenian Indian community should come together to solve such big issues of concern. How shameful to bring and involve thugs and police in the grounds of the church. It is a sacred place and should be kept like that. I would like to hear about a fair election where every Armenian Indian can have a say. It is a community affair. The clergy and the teachers (from elsewhere) what are they doing in the affairs of the Armenian-Indians? They should not be involved in this matter in all ways of the word.



    1. Khachaturian is Galstaun

      Max Khachaturian is Max Galstaun. He is not baptized in the Armenian Church. Who is he trying to fool? He is well-known for filing cases against religious institutions to make a living.

      Max, stop making a fool of yourself.

  2. Truth

    Max Khachadourian???

    How did he change his name? He is Max Galstaun. He is not baptised in the Armenian Church. Who is he trying to cheat? He is well known in filing cases against churches/schools in Calcutta…He does this for a living.

    Leave the Armenian Church alone Mr. Max Galstaun.

    Wonder how many he cheated in UK.

    1. Cheat, Thug, Coward

      I am Max Galstaun. I legally changed my name to Khatchaturian. An elder of the Armenian community, the well-known Hrant Catchatoor, suggested that I take the name (the cross-bearer) because a few elders at the time knew that a fighter like me was needed to preserve and protect the Calcutta Armenian Community. There is nothing illegal in calling yourself whatever you want…

      I am not baptized in the Armenian Church. The 22 trusts, which are managed by the Armenian Church Committee, do not mention the words baptized or baptism. These trusts concern all Calcutta Armenians, because the legacies are for Calcutta Armenians, not baptized Calcutta Armenians.

      Have I filed cases against schools? I have. Is it illegal to go to court? Maybe in Armenia, where you go to some thugs for justice, but we live in a civilized country called India, where they have courts, barristers, and lawyers.

      Instead of … asking whether Max has cheated someone, he should have written "Max has cheated…….." 

      But what does one expect from a person who cannot give his name when he attacks Max Galstaun, who is well known for campaigns on a number of issues? The murder of Rizwanur Rahman in Calcutta is one such campaign. There are other campaigns. I am proud of my name….

  3. Margaret

    Dear cousin Margaret , if you are reading this please take care of your self and Sonia Johns…keep out of harms way.  Please write me on your return home. I have forwarded this article to cousins Armen and Lydia.
    Yours, David

    1. This is the beginning of the end

      Tahnks David. All I ask is for your prayers and that of others. This sick, low-life and corrupt Armenian church committee has now exceeded its boundary. I will prevail. I will flush out all the dirt on this committee, particularly its two wardens, Susan Reuben and Sunil Sobti who have siphoned crores upon crores of rupees.

      They have amended the Church Scheme (Constitution) without the knowledge, consultation or approval of the Armenian community of Kolkata. Two clauses that they have deleted enables these two wardens stay in this capacity forever. That is why they are blocking, barring, intimidating, and threatening persons such as myself, so that they and their cronies can keep getting re-elected and reign supreme, continuing to bribe, and steal from the Armenian church funds.

      These are the same two people who take communion so as to show to the school children how good and holy they are. I will be relentless. Please share this and all links you come across with all Armenians, everywhere. It is time all Armenians knew what this lot is about. Send me an email privately.


  4. Calcutta Shock

    Dear Karen,

    I was shocked about the news concerning the Culcutta Armenian Church election. The Holy Nazaret, where Joseph Emin, the famous Armenian, who fought for the independence of Armenia, is buried.

    You mentioned the passionate words of the daughter of Charles Sarkies (Chacha) whom I met 10 years ago while visiting India upon the invitation of the Foreign Ministry of India and through its marvelous former Ambassador Bal Anand. Mr. Sarkies was a true defender of the Armenian churches, the elders' sanctuary, the Armenian Philanthropic College, and the Armenian cemetery built by the famous Sir Khachig Paul Chater. The community's hundreds of millions worth of assets helped the reconstruction of Nor Nakhichevan in southern Russia through the efforts of the famous Armenian revolutionary Mikael Nalbandyan at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries and through the British Imperial Court in India.

    I send my warmest greetings to the unforgettable Sonia John, an Armenian who went to India as a child and was the director of the famous Women's College in Culcutta, a brave defender of  Armenian rights and the billions of dollars of the community's assets some of which were returned by Indira Gandhi during her historic visit to Moscow and to Armenia in 1976.

    Unfortunately, the mafioso-minded "independent" Armenia statesmen and clergy aim at robbing the riches of the Armenians of India, accumulated since the days of Mogul Emperor Akbar the Great whose beloved wife was Mariam Zamani Begum, an Armenian beauty from Meghri. We must thank the Indian government which had blocked many of these treacherous efforts and announce our solidarity with our brave brothers and sisters of the Armenians of India.

    Hamo Moskofian

  5. Armenians of India

    I will be coming to Calcutta in January to pay homage to my father's Armenian College era .I am the daughter of Minas Daniel Samel (also Minas Samuel David) who moved to Calcutta at the age of nine with my grandmother and remained there till 1927 when he returned to Iran. We migrated to Australia in 1968 and have lived here since.

    My father passed away 20 years ago. I have always wished to pay pilgrimage to his only college which is also proudly Armenian. I am hoping that I will be able to collect manuscripts and archives regarding my father and get to know the present Armenian community well. I was looking forward to this but when I read the problems within the community and church, I became very upset and disappointed.

    I know David Alexander, his mother (Arpenik) and other Indian-Armenians who live in Australia and elsewhere. I appreciate your actions as to a fair share of Armenian life and rights for the community in India. I wish you well and hope to meet you there on or about January 18. I will be staying three nights at the Kenilworth Hotel. It is owned by an Armenian and very close to the Armenian church and college, I believe. Many regards and cheers for your efforts.

    Mrs. Herosoohi Vesmadian

  6. It is time……

    Dear Armenians of India,

    You have a legacy. Please don't let things mar what we all stand for as people.

    Armenia needs each and everyone of you to do everything you can to uphold our rich heritage and not be splintered by a few who through greed manipulate others to bring down what we have fought for years before.

    Remember our genocide, we lost lands, our people and our  artists, poets and many of scholars.

    We need all of you to put all matters as trivial as those you perceive as not your best interest and look for the big picture. If you can't do that, then you will open the gates and invite our enemies in. We need each and every Armenian to look up and be counted as one that has no personal gain, rather the best they can do for our people and homeland.

    Let not there ever be a smile on the faces of our enemies who proclaim, "Look at those poor souls, how can they stand against us when they can't even stand together?"

    Think people! Please think before you do what you are doing!


  7. Was I camping on the pavement?

    People with fake names are calling me names. What is this world coming to when idiots are let loose by the mad clergymen of Armenia. These clergymen cannot find real or educated people to fight for them because every person in the world, besides them, knows that they are a bunch of crooks who cannot be defended.
    Let's hope some more fakes will delight us with their clergymen's nonsense.

    If  you want to know more about my name, the Armenian Church Committee has copies of my passport, and the expensive and crooked lawyers hired by the church committee still write to me as "Maxwell Patrick Galstaun". Can I force anyone to call me by any particular name when my opponents themselves use names as they wish? Even the church committee admits the name I am  known by.  One expensive lawyer sent a court document to Max Galstaun address: "Camping on the pavement", yet the crooked Khaitan company was writing to my proper address at Kalyani, West Bengal (outside Kolkata). Was I camping on the pavement?

    This is what happens when the church committee does not talk to Armenians but employs these … crooked lawyers, Ginodia, Khaitan, and others.

  8. Absolute Shock

    Reading these articles make me wonder why and how can such extreme measures be taken for an election of a community that is trying to survive. I know a little of the Armenians in Asia and have always had high regard for the community. Some people who seem to be in control are using their powers incoherently. There is a definite requirement of measures to be taken to control and safeguard the community and its people. I would like to read more of its glorious past and hope that the community incorporates appropriate measures for a better future. Let those who are eligible vote in a balanced and fresh election. It would be a suitable solution to this ugly strife. 

  9. What’s in a Name

    People take to the net with fake names (for example Dr. Debnat?) to write rubbish about real people. What a sad world we live in when lunatics are able to write a few sentences!

    Since the whole world knows my names, what is the problem? And, of course, "Debnat" the blackmailer (he has tried to blackmail me with false statements to make me shut up) has no evidence about this "making false cases" assertion. 

    C'mon Susan, Sunil, and the cohort of priests: stop using the net to show the world you are a bunch of cowards.  

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