Christians urge India's prime minister to halt torment in Madhya Pradesh

(Photo: REUTERS / Amit Dave)Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi (L), when he was the prime ministerial candidate for India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), seeks blessings from his mother Heeraben at her residence in Gandhinagar in the western Indian state of Gujarat May 16, 2014. Modi was seen as the next prime minister of India, with counting trends showing the pro-business Hindu nationalist and his party headed for the most resounding election victory the country has seen in 30 years.

An alliance of Christians in India has challenged newly-elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi to restore order in Madhya Pradesh state where they say persecution of minorities continues with impunity.

Speaking to AsiaNews, the president of the Global Council of Indian Christians expressed alarm over reports involving authorities' apparent lack of control over Hindu majority extremists who have attacked Christians in the state.

"This cycle of violence planned against Christians in Madhya Pradesh is not acceptable," said GCIC president Sajan K. George, Asia News reported on October 9.

"The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi must control the government of this state and order them to enforce the guarantees in the constitution of India."

George cited a series of incidents a few days earlier and in the past few weeks that should raise an alarm in the national government considering religious freedom is enshrined in the constitution.

He found the two latest incidents in the state unsettling.

The organization's president mentioned how authorities in Madhya Pradesh prevented a Christians holding a gathering after radical Hindu nationalists in the area heightened tensions there.

He noted that the Moksha Foundation, the organizer of the gathering, secured the necessary police permit and other requirements stipulating that applicants must declare an event is not terrorist activity.

But extremist Hindu nationalists, who have grown in recent months, forced authorities to cancel the event at the last minute.

Protesters likewise threatened to disrupt peace in the state after learning that a Christian man married a Hindu woman.

The couple, who eloped from the state, purportedly wanted to continue their relationship despite the woman's family's disapproval of the marriage.

After talking separately with the couple, the Alirajpur police superintendent sent the man and the woman home to their parents, and nullified the marriage after extremist threatened to stage a massive protest.

"I did what I thought was best after nearly 400 militants stormed my office and threatened to set it on fire," the officer said.

The Evangelical Fellowship of India expressed alarm as it appeared the situation there was "very serious, because it shows that mob rule by Hindu radicals dictate what police do in this part of Madhya Pradesh."

The group has sought the assistance of the province's chief minister to stop the persecution of Christians.

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