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10/18/2018 India (International Christian Concern) – Christian leaders in India’s northeastern state of Jharkhand claim a government investigation into the operations of more than 80 Christian organizations has turned into an attempt to project Christians as lawbreakers and rally Hindu votes.

The investigation started when an employee at a Christian convent run by the Missionaries of Charity, an order started by Mother Teresa, was accused of selling a child. That single accusation was then used by the BJP-led government of Jharkhand to open investigations into 88 other Christian organizations.

Recently, a report by Jharkhand’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has recommended that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigate the financing of the organizations under investigation. According to the CID, the Christian organizations are misusing funds to conduct religious promotion activities, something Hindu nationalists find deeply offensive.

Christian leaders claim the investigation is merely an attempt to publicly malign Christians and rally Hindu votes by the BJP-led government in Jharkhand. Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, the Secretary General of the Indian Bishops’ Conference, has said that organizations have been strictly following the law and the recommended probe into finances was a clear case of harassment.

Since the BJP took power in 2014, reports of Christian persecution have skyrocketed. In 2014, 147 incidents of persecution were recorded by the Evangelization Fellowship of India (EFI). In 2017, 351 were recorded by EFI. In addition to this escalation in violence, the BJP government has targeted the NGO community. Green Peace, Compassion International, and tens of thousands of other organizations have been harassed, closed, or kicked out of India.

For interviews with William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].