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ICC Note: A Christian leader in India has called on Prime Minister Modi to stop the harassment of Christians in the northeastern state of Jharkhand. Recently, the Jharkhand government ordered a probe into the funding of more than 80 organizations, exclusively Christian. Specifically, the state government probe is looking into the accusation that these organizations are using the funding for religious conversions.

07/25/2018 India (UCAN) – A Catholic leader has sought Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention to stop harassment of Christians after Jharkhand state ordered a probe into the funding of more than 80 Christian organizations.

The eastern state on July 19 asked police to probe foreign donations received by non-governmental organizations managed by dioceses and religious congregations such as Jesuits, Salesians and several groups of nuns, accusing them of diverting the money for religious conversion.

“This is another sign of how the Jharkhand government is harassing Christian institutions,” Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary-general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, told ucanews.com.

“We appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to keep the state government under control. We hope that the prime minister will intervene and stop this harassment.”

Modi’s pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party, which has run Jharkhand’s government since 2014, has been accused of moving against the Christian community, with police arresting nuns, priests and lay Christians on trumped-up charges.

Investigations have been ordered into the work of Missionaries of Charity, the congregation St. Teresa of Kolkata founded, after a nun was recently arrested and accused of selling babies for adoption.

Bishop Mascarenhas said the inquiries are unfair as the state and federal governments have financial details of all these organizations because overseas funds come through designated banks and accounts are compiled annually to comply with government regulations.

“If the government wants to be fair, let it start probing all non-governmental organizations. Why single out Christians?” he asked.

The bishop said Christian groups are working for the welfare of the poor, educating them and taking care of their health needs. “Instead of working for the poor, the government is targeting those working for the poor,” he said.

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