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Elections in Orissa rigged as extremists force Christians to vote for Hindu parties

ICC Note: Turnout among displaced Christians in Orissa was high, but many of them were intimidated into voting for the party responsible for the violence against them.

by Nirmala Carvalho
04/20/09 Bhubaneshwar, India (AsiaNews) – “Mark the lotus!” Christians in the village of Gujapanga, northern Kandhamal District, were repeatedly told on 16 April, first day of India’s election, or else. The lotus is the symbol of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its supporters have kept villages in this Orissa district under a watchful eye in order to intimidate Dalits and Christians.

Global Council of Indian Christians (GCII) Chairman Sajan George told AsiaNews that he received reports from villages like Gujapanga with similar stories of intimidation.

“Extremists standing outside polling stations told Christians to vote for the ‘lotus’ if they wanted to avoid threats to their life.” Although no incident was recorded, “these elections cannot be said to have been peaceful and calm.”

Fr Ajay Singh, who heads Jan Vikas, a social organisation in the diocese of Bubhaneswar, visited several polling stations to “see the situation in person.” … [Go To Full Story]