An Indian couple in the state of Madhya Pradesh whose marriage was postponed three times due to protests from a Hindu extremist group finally married, a Christian news agency reported Monday, January 15.
Compass Direct News, a news agency investigating reports of persecution, said Christian Peter Abraham, 38, and tribal woman Meena Gond, 36, were married Thursday, January 11, at the Jabalpur district marriage office.
There was no immediate confirmation from officials.
The National President of advocacy group Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), Sajan George told earlier that his organization asked state Governor Balram Jhakar to "ensure that justice prevails for the couple Meena and Peter."
Applications of the couple were rejected after Hindu militant group Dharam Sena reportedly complained the wedding could boost Christian conversions.
Deepak Singh, a district marriage officer, also objected to the marriage three times because the bride and groom follow different faiths.
"After they applied to marry, the couple patiently waited for the mandatory 40-day notice period to elapse during which objections, if any, could be filed. The waiting was over November 13" but radical Hindus filed an objection, the GCIC told BosNewsLife.
"They were asked to appear December 20" only to find that the "marriage date postponed yet again," the group said. They were apparently told to come January 4 because the Hindu-demanded investigation had not been completed.
Dozens of Hindu militants allegedly interrupted procedures and another marriage date was scheduled for Thursday, January 11 when apparently officials agreed to marry them, amid international pressure.
Meena also threatened suicide if she was not allowed to marry Peter. "I am fed up. It looks like I should commit suicide," she was quoted as telling a GCIC official.
Marriage officer Singh denied any miscarriage of justice. “Since I received two objections, we had to investigate the matter," Compass Direct News quoted him as saying. "On January 8, once the complaints were found to be baseless, we gave the couple permission to marry. They fixed their date for January 11, and after recording their statements, the marriage certificate was issued.”
Human rights groups have expressed concerns about what they see as growing pressure on Christians in India, a mainly Hindu nation of about 1.1 billion people.