Catholics ask Jharkhand to halt probe into overseas funding

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Jharkhand governor told that selective scrutiny of only Christian institutions is a breach of India’s constitution. Bhopal:

A Catholic delegation in India has sought the intervention of Jharkhand state’s governor to end what they describe as “selective” investigations targeting Christian organizations who receive foreign donations.

Auxiliary Bishop Telesphore Bilung of Ranchi led the four-member delegation to present a memorandum to governor Draupadi Murmu on May 24 urging her to dismiss ongoing selective investigations into Christian organizations.

The state has some 500 non-governmental organizations that receive foreign donations. However, the government ordered that only 88 Christian organizations be investigated to see if they “misuse foreign funds for religious conversion,” the memorandum said.

“The selective scrutiny only of the Christian institutions betrays not only the government’s discriminatory stance but is also a breach of the Indian constitution,” it said, seeking the governor’s intervention.

Christians say they began to be targeted after the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014. With a BJP-led government also in New Delhi, administrations have been supportive to Hindu groups working to make India a Hindu theocratic nation, they say.

Hindu groups have routinely accused Christian organizations of diverting foreign funds to use in efforts to convert socially poor tribal and Dalit people in the state.

Over the past five years the state has witnessed hundreds of attacks against Christians and numerous police charges against Christians accused of violating a state law of 2017 that restricts conversion.

The law prohibits converting a person from one religion to another using force or by means of allurement or inducement. Hindu groups have been accusing Christian organizations of misusing overseas funding for conversion under the pretext of social services.

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