A member of India’s Madhya Pradesh Backward Classes and Minority Welfare Department wants sedition charges filed against several Christians for allegedly “waging war against the country.” This came after a Hindu couple was caught getting married in a church.
“The clerics and the faithful have waged a war against the state by trying to convert the Other Backward Classes (OBC) Hindu couple clandestinely and marry off a minor,” said minister of state Laxmi Yadav, as quoted by DNA India. “I have sought legal opinion on whether sedition charge could be invoked against the Christians for waging a war against the country.”
Arun and Subhadra Kushwaha were going to get married at the Church of God in Satna district on April 27 when Bajrang Dal activists entered the church. The couple reportedly said that they have not converted to Christianity but underwent a change of heart or “man parivartan.” The Bajrang Dal questioned why they were going to wed in a church if they had not converted.
“A Christian network with a centre in Satna is working in the country to convert Hindus, a community which is on decline in India,” Yadav said. “Ten people including four reverends and believers have already been booked for conversion and trying to facilitate a minor girl’s marriage.”
Kushwara is 24 and has studied up to Class XII, but Subharta was 10 days short of being 18 on the day of the ceremony; thus, the case against the Christians, according toCatchNews, was filed under the anti-conversion law as well as the prevention of child marriage law, and a section in the IPC on hurting religious sentiments.
“Her parents told me that she was 19 years old as per her birth certificate and 18 according to her school certificate,” DNA India quotes Church of God pastor Sam Samuel as saying. “I personally did not check it given that the girl’s parents were believers and coming to Church since last three years. I did not indulge in any conversion or wrongdoing.”
Samuel was arrested, along with pastors Stephen Raj Kumar, Gyan Das. and Gaya Pratap.
“This is the first case in the country when Christians were caught red-handed converting and marrying OBCs,” said Yadav, according to The Indian Express. “We will reconvert them, purify them after sprinkling Gangajal and hold a Hindu marriage for the couple.”
He reportedly intends to file a petition to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, State Home Minister Babulal Gaur, and Director General of Police for the Christians to be charged with sedition.