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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014

RSS to fight religious conversion in UP with 'rakhi'

Manish Chandra Pandey  Lucknow, August 08, 2014
First Published: 17:21 IST(8/8/2014) | Last Updated: 17:24 IST(8/8/2014)
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has decided to use the 'rakhi' as a weapon to fight religious conversions, a few days after a Hindu girl claimed to have been forced to embrace Islam.
 
From Raksha Bandhan to Janmasthami – two major Hindu festivals -- saffron volunteers plan to tie 'rakhis' to lakhs of people across the state to build public opinion against religious conversions.
 
"We would tie rakhi and counsel Hindus on the need to remain vigilant against the conspirators," a senior RSS leader said. 
 
The RSS move could fan tension in the state especially in western UP which has witnessed clashes on communal lines in recent times.
 
Tension flared up in Meerut town last week after a 21-year-old girl – working as a teacher at a madrasa – claimed that she was forcefully converted to Islam and was also gang-raped in captivity.
 
RSS leaders said hundreds of saffron volunteers have already begun carrying bagful of 'rakhis' in rural areas from where Sangh Parivar leaders plan to launch a massive drive to mobilise Hindus against conversions.
 
From August 23 till September 15, the RSS' 'dharma jagran vibhag' would hold also Hindu sanmelans across the state in memory of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader who was working against religious conversions before he was murdered in Orissa.
 
This would be followed by homecoming or shuddhikaran (purification) drives to win back the converts to the Hindu fold.
 
"We plan to organise such shudhikaran campaigns in nearly 50 tehsils to begin with. In five years' time we hope to organise such shuddhikaran campaigns in each block of the state," the RSS leader told HT.
 
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party has threatened an agitation if the state government didn't act against the accused in the Meerut incident.
 
"The government shouldn't protect the accused in the Meerut incident. It should rise above vote bank politics. If it doesn't the BJP would hold agitations to force the government to act," said UP BJP spokesman Chandramohan.

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