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ICC Note:

Christians in Madhya Pradesh were planning a rally to be held in support of a young couple forced to annul their marriage because the husband was a Christian. This rally never took place because the local government forced the Christians organizing the event to cancel it because it would “disturb the peace.” The real reason behind the government’s actions was pressure from local Hindu radicals yet again exercising their control over local governments across India. 

10/8/2014 India (Asia News) – “A travesty of justice that affects the Christian minority, under pressure from Hindu nationalists and with the tacit agreement of the administration.” This is how Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), reacts to the recent position taken by the Government of Madhya Pradesh in banning a Christian gathering for “disturbing the peace.” In fact, behind this choice there are several radical Hindu organizations, who are protesting the marriage of a Christian boy with a Hindu girl.

Organized by the All India Christian United Front (Aiuf) and Moksha Foundation (Mf), the “Massihi Atmik Jagruti Sabha” was supposed to start on October 1st, in an agricultural field two kilometers from Jorbat (Alirajpur district), the couple’s home town. On September 30, however, the authorities canceled the rally, after several nationalist groups threatened to start an “indefinite protest” until the two were found and the girl “returned” to her family.

Joseph Pawar and Ayushi Wani were arrested in Gujarat – where they had gone to get married – on 1st October and brought back to Jorbat. The police declared the marriage “invalid”. However, Ayushi refused to return to her parents and was brought to the Nari Niketan Trust, an association that welcomes and supports women who are widowed, divorced and poor.

Although the groups were able to separate the two young people, the authorities did not allow the rally to take place as scheduled.

“Christians – Sajan George told Asia News – are not only law-abiding citizens, but also peace-loving and engaged in mutual tolerance and peaceful coexistence”. According to the president of the GCIC, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP Hindu nationalist) in power “justice is denied to the Christian community.”

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