Ultimately, they chose profit over precept.
About 207 members of the Paliyar Hill tribe community in Tamil Nadu want to return to the Hindu fold to avail of reservations and other benefits that scheduled tribes (ST) are entitled to. They had converted to Christianity more than two decades ago.
The “Paliyar Christians”, who live near Kodaikanal, a hill station 450 km south of Chennai, have petitioned the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) to help them in this regard.
In recent years, VHP and other Hindu organisations have been very active, especially in the tribal belt spanning Chhattigarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Orissa, in reconverting tribals who had embraced Christianity.
Called “Ghar Wapsi” (homecoming), these ceremonies have often led to serious violence between Hindus and Christians — as in Kandhamal in Orissa last year —and charges of coercion and inducements from both sides.