The Madhya Pradesh Police Wednesday entered a church in Satna and stopped a wedding ceremony following a complaint by the Bajrang Dal that the bride and the groom had been unlawfully converted to Christianity.
Accompanied by Bajrang Dal activists, a Kolgawan police team entered the Church of God in India and arrested 10 people, including pastor Sam Samuel and the groom’s parents.
CSP (Satna) Sitaram Yadav said the bride was a minor as she was 10 days short of turning 18. He said the couple had converted to Christianity four years ago, but district authorities were not informed, which is a crime under the state’s anti-conversion legislation. Satna SP Mithilesh Shukla also claimed that the girl is “a Hindu and a minor”.
“Bajrang Dal informed police that members of the Kushwaha community were being converted to Christianity at the church. We registered an FIR on a complaint by the bride’s uncle,” Yadav said, adding that her father is not mentally sound. The groom, Ajay Kushwaha, 24, works with a private firm.
Besides Sections 3 and 4 of the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, police have invoked IPC Section 295 (A) (deliberate and malicious act intended to outrage religious feelings) and Section 14 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act.
Church spokesman Mariyosh Joseph called the charges false and said the bride and groom were Christians. He said the Bajrang Dal and the RSS were behind the complaint.