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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Indian archbishop among Christians with papers turned away at polls

Hundreds of Christians, including a Catholic archbishop, were turned away from polling booths in India’s Madhya Pradesh state because their names were not on the voter list.

Christian leaders claimed there was foul play in the 28th November poll, reported

Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal, the state capital, and hundreds of other Christians had to return home without exercising their right to vote for legislators – although they had election identity cards and other relevant documents.

Christian leader Saji Abraham started a petition to election authorities, seeking an investigation of what he branded a conspiracy. He and other Christian leaders suspect that Bharatiya Janata, the Hindu nationalist party that has ruled the state for 15 years, influenced officials to remove from voter eligibility lists the names of Christians traditionally considered supporters of the party’s archrival, the Congress Party.

“I’m sure my name was deliberately deleted from the voter list, which is unjust and not a good sign for the democracy,” Archbishop Cornelio told He said he was denied the right to vote, even though he showed his election identity card.

Picture: People stand in line to cast their votes outside a polling station for the Madhya Pradesh state assembly elections on 28th November in Bhopal, India. (CNS photo/Sanjeev Gupta, EPA).