Hundreds of Christians in India’s Madhya Pradesh state found their names missing from the lists of voters in elections for the State Assembly on 28 November, AsiaNews reports.
One of them was the Bishop of Bhopal, Leo Cornelio, who told AsiaNews that after waiting at the polling station for 45 minutes and presenting his electoral card, he was not able to vote.
“I do not know if my name was deliberately deleted from the lists, but then I learned that even the names of so many other members of minorities did not appear on the lists. I will report to the Electoral Commission,” he said.
According to AsiaNews, Christian leaders suspect that the Bharatiya Janata Party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which has been governing the state for 25 years, was responsible, in order to prevent the success of the rival Congress Party for which Christians reportedly have a preference.
“It is not fair and it is not a good sign for democracy. It launches a hard message to the Christian community, namely that it is not even considered,” Bishop Cornelio told local media.
World Watch Monitor has learnt that similar incidents have previously happened elsewhere in India, including in Bangalore and Mangalore in southern Karnataka state, where Christian converts with Hindu names could vote, but their children’s Christian names were removed from the electoral lists.