South Asia

Hindu extremists disrupt Christian wedding

The right-wing group Hindu Vahini, disrupted a Christian wedding service between a Roman Catholic bride and a Hindu bridegroom on 28 February 2017 in Shivpuri in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

Father Antony – the Jeevan Jyoti Ashram Church priest told Global Christian News that it was a wedding ceremony and the couple were there to receive blessings before they would go in for a court marriage and then a Hindu ceremony.

Shortly after the beginning of the Christian blessing a group of Hindu extremists disrupted the ceremony and claimed the priest was forcefully converting the Hindu man.

They questioned the groom and despite his persistent denial of being converted, the mob did not let t

he service continue, according to newsbits.in.

The boy showed his wedding card to the Hindu Vahini members as a proof of his Hindu wedding that would take place in March according to Arya Samaj rituals which is as per Vedic rites.

Anukampa pleading with the Hindu Vahini members outside the Jeevan Jyoti Ashram Church, Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh

The girl only identified as Anukampa was a member of the Jeevan Jyoti Ashram Church. She and Avnish Sharma had known each other since college days. They wanted to marry each other and wanted to conduct the marriage according to the bride and the groom’s rituals. The wedding was supposed to be followed by dinner in a hotel in Shivpuri.

The Hindu Vahini members, questioned as to why Avnish’s parents were not present in the Church? Even after Avnish is reported to have given a reason for their absence, the extremists did not let the wedding resume in spite of pleas from Anukampa in her white gown.

Pastor Alua Jena, the pastor of Bethel Bible Fellowship Church on Jhansi Road in Shivpuri told Global Christian News that, “Two people had come to my Church on 28 February, to enquire if a Christian wedding was going on, when I denied, they left. I only came to know the next day after I read in the local newspapers about the Christian wedding being stopped in the Catholic Church. And it was then, that I understood the reason of their visit to my Church.”

“Their motive seems to be of creating a ruckus and adding another counter to their lists of incidents against Christians,” said a rather shocked Jena.

The National agency Hindustantimes.com reported that the town inspector Sanjay Dixit said the incident was the outcome of confusion.

“Members of the Hindu Vahini had come to us alleging that a forced conversion was taking place. A police team accompanied them to the church and the charges were found to be untrue. No case has been lodged,” quoted Hindustantimes as said by the inspector.

The Madhya Pradesh Dharma Swatantrya Adhiniyam (Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act) prohibits religious conversion through force, allurement and fraudulent means. Changing one’s religion without informing the authorities is also punishable under the Act.

Madhya Pradesh is one of the five states in India besides Gujarat, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Himachal Pradesh which has enforced the anti-conversion laws.