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Christians complain over proselytizing charge

False accusations inflame resentment ahead of forthcoming election

Christians complain over proselytizing charge
Christian leaders submitting a compliant to the state chief electoral officer against state president of Bharatiya Janata Party, Prabha Jha in his office, Bhopal reporter, Bhopal

June 17, 2011

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A Christian delegation in Madhya Pradesh yesterday registered a complaint against a pro-Hindu ruling party leader for allegations of proselytizing made ahead of a bypoll in Damoh district. The delegation filed the complaint with the Madhya Pradesh chief electoral officer P. C. Meena , charging Prabhat Jha, head of the Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian People’s Party), with making false accusations against Christians to inflame resentment ahead of the forthcoming election on June 25. John Antony, a member of the delegation and a public relations officer in Madhya Pradesh, said the election officer assured the Christians that he would look into the situation. “He said he was aware of the matter and that action would be taken against the accused.” The complaint follows remarks made by Jha to reporters in Sagar on June 13, in which he urged a government probe of alleged “large-scale conversions” of tribal members by Christian missionaries in Jabera. Tanava Solomon, the Congress Party candidate from Jabera and daughter of the deceased former minister Ratnesh Solomon, is a Christian. Father Anand Muttungal, a coordinator with the ecumenical forum Madhya Pradesh Isai Mahasangh (Grand Assembly of Christians in Madhya Pradesh) accused the BJP of trying to divide voters along communal lines every time a Christian contested an election or in areas where the majority of voters were Christian. The central Indian state has seen several instances of sectarian violence between Christians and Hindus in recent years. Roy John Thatta, state treasurer for the Madhya Pradesh Isai Mahasangh, said yesterday’s complaint was the first of its kind by Christians.

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