BJP MP and Dalit leader Udit Raj raised the ‘ghar wapsi’ conversion campaign at the BJP’s national executive meet in Bengaluru in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said it had sullied India’s image on the world stage.
BJP leaders who attended the meet said Raj questioned the BJP’s stand on the campaign,
reported. Apart from Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and several senior leaders were present when Raj raised the issue.
The daily quoted its sources as saying that Raj had asked the Prime Minister how he would face global leaders when he meets them on his tours abroad. Raj mentioned he was in touch with Christian leaders and told the meeting that community leaders abroad, especially in the US and Europe, keep “close track” of developments in India and would “pressure” their leadership which, in turn, could affect ties.
“He spoke passionately that the Christian community in the country is feeling insecure and the international community is concerned about the toxic atmosphere created by the ‘ghar wapsi’ campaign. He said the BJP, in its political resolution, should send a strong message against it,” an unnamed BJP leader was quoted as saying.
Raj, who is national chairman of the All India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations, confirmed he had raised the matter and said his speech had initiated a “debate” on the issue at the meeting.
“I raised the issue because the opposition is spreading the word that minorities are unsafe under the BJP government and that we are against minorities. Time and again, they have raised it and the image of the country and the government has been hit by the campaign,” he said.
“Both the Prime Minister and (Union minister) M Venkaiah Naidu have already rejected this. I said as a responsible party, the BJP should send this message that we are detached from this.”
Replying to the debate, Naidu said many alleged attacks on minorities were “simple criminal acts” and it was the opposition that had created the impression that these were communal attacks.
Referring to the gang-rape of a 72-year-old nun in West Bengal and attacks on churches in Delhi, Naidu said such incidents were committed by anti-social elements and there was no communal angle to them.
“He urged the party to counter the campaign and protect the image of the government. Naidu also warned party leaders against making controversial statements,” said another BJP leader who did not want to be named.