Gujarat conversions spark anger

  • Agencies, Valsad/New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 22, 2014 05:39 IST

Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) came under fire Sunday from the Congress and other opposition parties after more than 200 tribal Christians were converted to Hinduism in Gujarat.

"Extreme right wing is flexing its muscles. VHP/RSS through Hindutva ... rewriting history and economic policies," Congress leader Digvijay Singh posted on Twitter.

Another Congress leader Rashid Alvi said such acts by right-wing outfits only created a bad impression about India across the world.

"This is totally unfortunate whatever is happening. In the world, India had a different image of having people practising various religious beliefs, speaking different languages -- based on which the country was built... These actions will only create bad impression about the country," Alvi told ANI.

"Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and others are trying to destroy the country. If these people have been converted by coercion or inducement then it is a clear violation of law. But then what kind of image of India will be in the world," he added.

CPI leader D Raja also hit out at the VHP's move saying, "India is not a Hindu Rashtra, but a democratic republic.”

A Gujarat-based priest said he could not "accept that anyone who has been a Christian will convert to other religion by personal choice"."VHP is forcing people and luring them to convert their religion," Father Dominic was quoted as saying by Zee News.

Saturday's mass ceremony took place in a tribal village 350 kilometres south of Ahmedabad."As part of the ongoing 'ghar-wapsi' programme, VHP re-converted 225 people from Christian community and took them back into Hindu religion," said Valsad district VHP chief Natu Patel.

VHP organised a 'Maha Yagnya' (ritual of the sacred fire) for "purification" of the tribals before taking them back in Hindu-fold and also gave each of them a copy of Bhagwad Gita.

One of the converts told AFP they were promised ration cards and other financial incentives if they switched religions.

The VHP ceremony came just hours after BJP president Amit Shah dared opposition parties to move a bill against "forcible conversions"

The incident came against the backdrop of a raging debate over such programmes being organised by Sangh Parivar groups in various parts of the country.

A controversy had erupted early this month when a right wing group had organised a 'ghar-wapsi' drive wherein it reportedly converted about 100 Muslims in Agra in Uttar Pradesh.

The incident had created a ruckus in the Rajya Sabha, with the Opposition demanding a statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A similar incident was also reported from BJP-ruled Chhattisgarh where a party MP had claimed 39 tribal Christians were re-converted to Hinduism in Maoist-hit Bastar district in October this year.

If people are converting voluntarily,there should be no problem, but if force is being used, State Govt should take action: Venkaiah Naidu

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