India's authorities working for Hindu hardliners, say Christian leaders

(Photo: REUTERS / Adnan Abidi)People take part in a religion conversion ceremony from Christianity to Hinduism at Hasayan town in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh August 29, 2014.

Some Christian leaders have accused authorities in India of working under the influence of Hindu hardliners to persecute minorities.

The leaders cited a recent incident involving Christian group which government officials in Alirajpur district stopped from holding an annual gathering of its members from October 6 to 9.

The authorities reasoned that the assembly would have sparked tension in the already tense region of Madhya Pradesh in central India.

An organizer of the event told that the incident clearly showed authorities favoring one party instead of promoting the general welfare of the area.

The incident looks as if authorities are "playing at the hands of right-wing Hindu groups to target minority Christians," said Kapil Sharma, president of the Moksha Foundation and an organizer of the event.

Authorities demanded information on the source of funding of the event, questioning Sharma whether he had been involved in any criminal activity.

The actions taken by the regional government only highlighted it was determined to "terrorize Christians," explained Sharma, who converted to Christianity in 2006.

He pointed out that the way thing are going in Alirajpur, the constitutional right of freedom of religion is being violated by authorities.

A couple of weeks ago, police in Alirajpur declared the marriage of a 22-year-old Christian man and a 19-year-old woman invalid, saying the marriage did not fulfil all the legal requirements.

Authorities used Madhya Pradesh's anti-conversion law - converts ought to inform the court about their intention to become Hindus a month before marrying a Hindu - as basis for the annulment.

AC Michael, a Christian leader and human rights activist, said the persecution of minorities in Madhya Pradesh reflects what is happening in India since the Bharatiya Janata Party took power

"BJP cadres and their allied groups seem to believe that the victory in the election is a mandate for them to act upon their ideology of making India a Hindu nation. But they are sadly mistaken," Michael told

Human rights groups have recorded over 600 attacks on religious minorities in India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed office this year.

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