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Indian Christians raise concern ahead of elections

Thu 11 Apr 2019
By Premier Journalist

As the polls open for India's general election, Christians there are said to be fearful of rigging and further persecution.

Religious minorities have faced increased violence since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014, with thousands of attacks taking place every year.

The elections run from 11 April to 23 May with suggestions a change could be imminent.

 

One pastor told religious freedom charity Open Doors: "People regret their choices of 2014.

"Where I live, most people don’t like the BJP at all. They shouldn’t win. But we are afraid that the elections will be rigged.

"Maybe the voting machines will be hacked or maybe people will be given money if they vote for the BJP. We, as pastors, were promised land and protection if we voted for them."

Speaking to Premier Tamsin Taylor from Open Doors explained further the difficulties facing believers

"If a Christian is attacked or if a Christian is harassed their land is grabbed and they're discriminated against in a school setting the authorities often won't intervene.

"The autorities, sadly in some states, actually work with the extremists to persecute Christians."

Over 500 members of the lower chamber of parliament will be elected over the coming weeks. BJP's main rival will be the Indian National Congress party.

India is number 10 on the 2019 World Watch List, Open Doors' annual ranking of the 50 countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution.

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